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.