Ranch dressing

Decades after Mom and Dad first moved our family of four into our Elmhurst ranch house, it occurs to me we didn’t live ON a ranch. We lived IN a ranch on land that might have BEEN a ranch before the 1950s happened.

During that decade, six million houses were built in the United States, 90% of them ranches. We couldn’t all have acreage to boot.

Our lot was wide enough to prevent us hearing our neighbors, if they whispered; and just deep enough for no such buffer behind or in front. When we needed to air our differences, we went to the basement.

Its highest elevation was a weather vane on the peak of the garage roof. It was a horse prancing atop an arrow that spun. We could gaze up like sun-wizened ranchers to see which way the wind was blowing, which we never did.

When I was old enough to imagine my future, about four, I received a doll house: A ranch made of thin metal with furniture painted on its walls. It came with a doll family of four also made of flat metal, like utensils. I imagined in two dimensions. Very 1950s.


About Mrs. Fitz

Hello! I'm Michele Fitzpatrick, a Chicago writer. Like our town, a work in progress. As a journalist, teacher and writing coach I think all of us live our stories and sharing them creates moments that remind us we're connected. And that is enough.
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