“It was not perfect, and it was not fancy, but it was my own very first house, and then our first house together. I wanted so badly to fill it with laughter and memories and celebration that I willed myself to overlook what it lacked, and threw open the door at every opportunity.” — from “Bread & Wine” by Shauna Neiquist
400 square feet. That was it. Mine and Jon’s first home, one unit of a four-plex apartment building in Ruston, LA. In that tiny space, we hosted a Cajun dinner for 30+ out-of-town guests a couple of days before our wedding. And after a long work week, which included graduate school for me, we’d trade off with several other couples hosting Friday Night Supper Club. Here, we’d try new recipes, play board games and cards, and stay up talking until the wee hours of the morning. We were thankful that Saturday was not a workday, so we could sleep in and have a leisurely breakfast with copious amounts of coffee, which was shipped to us by his mom from Seattle because Starbucks wasn’t sold in our stores.
During the week, piano and voice students tromped up the stairs and trickled into our tiny front living space for their weekly lessons. And although it wasn’t much larger than a sardine can, we also hosted out-of-town guests, who slept on the sofa bed. We inherited it after a friend purchased a new one. Before that we didn’t have a couch, so we were happy to be the third family to show it some love. In fact, we didn’t have a dining room table either. That is until our landlord, a gentleman from our church, asked if we’d like to have an extra one that he had found in storage. When Jon brought it home, I was thrilled! Finally, a place to sit and eat dinner!
To some, our first home wasn’t ideal. It would have never been photographed for House Beautiful. In fact, it was so small, you had to sit sideways on the commode in order to close the bathroom door. (Lemme tell ya, that was fun! NOT!) Still, we invited people over because we wanted to connect, to share, and to show hospitality.
Size didn’t matter then, and it doesn’t matter now.