Confessions of a Childhood Home: Branford, FL

So it is time for me to say goodbye to Branford one more time.  Kinda.  You never really say a true goodbye to Branford if you’re from there.  It’s more of a “I’ll see ya after while” to which Branford replies, “y’all come back now, ya hear”.   You see, my parents are moving and while I’m super excited about having a lot more to do each time I visit (Gainesville has infinitely more options), I’m saddened to be bidding adieu to my childhood home. This new house will be great, but nothing can ever come close to replacing the house you grew up in. Man do I have some memories in that house!

It really makes you think that if that house were a living being, boy has it seen some shit.  Oh the stories it could share with it’s new owner!  Well they do say that confession is good for a house’s soul, so I thought we’d give 116 Hillcrest Circle some time in the confessional.

Forgive me father, it’s been quite a while since my last confession, you see, I’m a house.  With a new family coming in I thought it might be good to like, ya know, clean out my attic so to speak.  Yeah, so, how exactly do I do this?

Speak from your heart son.

Heart?  Hmmm, okay, I suppose that’s like a furnace. 

Sure, go ahead.

Well they moved in back in ’87 after watching me grow from blocks of wood and bricks.  They were obviously excited; you could tell from all of the yelling and running around.  That little blonde boy used to ride his bike up and down the big dirt mound out front that they brought in to level out my front yard.  I suppose I was a bit out of balance.  Anyway, the yelling never stopped. 

You mean to say that they fought a lot?  Were angry?

No, just loud.  Very loud!  Especially the girl.  She started talking the moment she walked in and didn’t stop till she left for college.  Apparently she has a lot to say and she likes to say it so everyone can hear. I think she got it from the man.  He was super loud too.   Hello, we can hear you!  Sorry, I got a little sidetracked.  So, yes, they were all quite loud.

Go on.

They boy and girl would wake up each morning when they didn’t have school and burst out of the house.  It was like they couldn’t wait to get out of me.  They’d play in the woods behind me for hours, making trails and forts.  Sometimes they’d climb trees so high that I’d get a bit nervous.  But what could I do?  At lunch they’d come in gobble up a peanut butter and banana sandwich and then they’d rush out again.  Ha ha ha…

What is it?

I was just thinking about this one time the boy didn’t want to eat his sandwich.  So the girl told him to throw it in the weeds.  He did.  Apparently she didn’t want her sandwich either, because the next thing I knew she was tossing out her sandwich as well.  Then you’ll never believe what happened.


She went in and told on the boy for tossing his sandwich!  Can you believe it?  Of course he then ratted her out.  Awwww, but those two were quite the team.  They’d race biked around the neighborhood like maniacs.  Sometimes they’d come back with bloody knees and elbows.  But it didn’t seem to phase them.  I think they liked being dirty.  They sure took many a grubby shower in my bathroom.  Leaves, beggar weeds, thorns, and all manner of stuff would stick to them.  I always liked when it was hot, because then they’d play in the hose and sprinkler.  That always felt so good on my hot cement.  You know, brick isn’t exactly summer wear.  And they don’t call it the Sunshine State for nothing.

So I’ve heard.  So this little boy and girl were buddies huh?

Oh yes!  They got along very well….for the most part.

So sometimes they fought?

On occasion.  One time they put a hole in my hallway door.  Ouch!

How’d that happen?

Every Easter it never failed, they’d find their Easter baskets (the woman hid them in the house) and the girl would instantly start gobbling up all of her candy.  The boy would nibble a few odds and ends and then move on to playing with whatever toy came in his basket.  A few days later, the girl’s candy would be gone.  The boy would wrap his Easter bunny in Saran wrap and put it the fridge.  Each day or so, he’d come back in and nibble a little off the ears.  Well, this drove the girl crazy!  She decided to start taking secret nibbles of the bunny as well.  Oh, but her greed caught up with her!  The boy realized what was happening.  By goodness, the ears were just disappearing too quickly.  He confronted her with the chilled bunny!  Well she just stuck out her tongue and said, “I wanted some and mine was gone.”  So he chucked that ice-cold, ear-less rabbit right at her head!  She ducked and it ended up hitting me right in the hallway door.  It made a huge hole.  That kid had an arm!

I bet she didn’t sneak anymore of the bunny after that.

Nope, at least not that Easter.  Oh, I have another Easter story!

Great.  But why don’t we save that for next time.  I have quite the line forming out there.

Sure, I just have so much to tell;  26 years is quite a bit of life!  I’ll be back in.  So, what is my penance?

You’re a house,  so I’m not really sure what would work for you.  How about you look in the bathroom mirror and say three Hail Marys?


So obviously I’ll be continuing my Branford house confessional in the coming weeks.  I plan to pull out the photo albums so I can give you guys a little visual with this too!  Until then, here’s a picture the house uncovered of the girl and some of her childhood buddies.  This one was from their trip to Grad Nite at Disney.  What a fashionable bunch!


Want to know why I love Branford, FL so much?  Check out my post:  5 Reasons Branford was an Awesome Place to Grow Up

Stay positive & love your life!



Listening to:  Pepper – Tradewinds

Random fact:  That banana and peanut butter story actually predates this house, but I couldn’t leave it out.

Want to live in this famous house?  It’s for sale!  Check it out:  Kick-ass Home

Five for Friday: My Five Favorite Albums (Pre-K- Elementary School edition)

Today’s album list is a bit different.  These are the albums that started my music collection;  the records Dustin and I would spin over and over again.  And as with all things from my childhood, they still mean a great deal to me.  They will join the list of items for which I scour antique stores and thrift shops making an attempt to reunite all of the things that shaped my childhood into one ridiculous (and awesome) collection.

Number 5:  Records borrowed from Dad.

My Dad is the single greatest contributor to my love of music (as I’ve mentioned before here and here).  He had an enormous collection of all of the great albums of the 60s, 70s, and 80s.  They were housed in a large wooden peach crate.  Much like my Barbie dolls, we parted ways with this collection through a hastily thought out yard sale.  There were two records that pre-kindergarten Melissa would swipe on a regular basis-

Bob Marley- Rastaman Vibration

“Get Up Stand Up” was a perfect song to dance to even if we had no clue what the lyrics meant at the time.



Elton John- Greatest Hits

Dustin and I were hooked on “Crocodile Rock”, “Rocket Man” and “Honky Cat”.

Number 4:  Annie: The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

I was a bit scared of Ms. Hannagin.


Number 3:  E.T. The Extra Terrestrial


I love this movie.  I’m pretty sure that if you are a child of the 80s that is a requirement.  But this album trumps the movie.  First, it is narrated by MJ.  I was just a smidge obsessed with him as a kid (we’ll get into that in a second).  Second, it contains the wonderful song “Someone in the Dark”.  I would cry every time I heard ET get captured.

Number 2:  Michael Jackson’s Bad

My obsession with MJ actually started with a record I checked out of the Branford library at least 50 times.  I’m not sure which Jackson 5 album it was (likely a greatest hits), but I spent hours dancing to “Rocking Robin” and “ABC”.

When I was around 3 or 4, I ran away from home to see MJ in concert. I couldn’t understand why my mean parents simply refused to take me to the show (which was roughly 2 hours away in Jacksonville).  So outfitted in my nightgown, I hit the road.  I just knew someone would give me a ride and when I got there MJ would let me in.  My Dad scooped me up and took his fit-throwing, kicking mess of child back home.  And then we played Shoots and Ladders.

The very first “real” music album I got was “Bad”.  I’m sure my parents were so sick of hearing the same eleven songs played on constant rotation.


Number 1:  The Muppet Movie Soundtrack


It doesn’t get any better than the “Rainbow Connection”

Honorable mentions:

Madonna- Who’s That Girl
My Dad must have caved and bought me this one, because my Mom hated Madonna.


Tiffany  This was the last “record” I ever owned.  I then made the jump to the high tech world of tapes where I started my collection with super bands like New Kids on the Block.


What were your favorite albums as a kid?

Stay positive & love your life!



Listening to:  Bat For Lashes – Daniel

Eating;  Potatoes and black beans

Drinking:  Blue Monster

Random fact:  I think I must have been most drawn to Madonna’s soundtrack efforts, because later I’d become obsessed with the “Dick Tracy  Soundtrack”