By Nina Cusmano
We moved into the Jupiter house with a big yard and a chicken coop, complete with six chickens, when I was six. When we were younger, my brother and I liked the house because it had a laundry chute. In high school, we liked it because we got our own bathrooms.
The woman who lived there before us was an artist and had a unique decorating sense. She had sponge-painted watermelons across the kitchen walls and glued seashells to the mirror in one of the bathrooms.
Our house has a big yard with plenty of space for our dogs to run around and for my brother and me to play soccer. The house eventually was painted green, a shade of green that became my favorite color.
In elementary school, I would ride my Razor scooter up and down the driveway or catch frogs in the yard. My friends and I would make up games with the laundry chute, such as letting stuffed animals slide down it and then running down the stairs to get them and do it again.
In middle school, my bedroom walls changed from pink to lavender, and my best friend helped me cover my ceiling in posters of our favorite Disney Channel stars.
By the end of high school, when I wasn’t on the soccer field, I spent my time working on college applications. I wrote my college essay for UF in that house, and later celebrated my acceptance with my dad there, too.
Every time I come home from Gainesville, I drive down the dirt road that leads to my house and stop at the metal gate at the end of my driveway. I’m always flooded with memories from second grade through high school. I’m reminded of Louie, the dog we got when I was in fourth grade that is no longer around. Instead, our new puppy greets me at the door. I’m reminded of all the ways this house grew and changed as I did over the years.
As my parents think of downsizing and prepare to be empty nesters, I cherish these memories a little more every time I’m home.