Love Shack

Can an apartment play a huge role in the birth of a relationship?

If you were to ask me, the answer would be an emphatic yes.

When Lisa and I first started dating in the spring of 1995, she was living in a second floor, two room shoebox of a studio apartment in a complex in Hatboro. It was small, cramped and there was barely enough room for one person to live there comfortably. That being said, Lisa absolutely loved the place and it was easy to see why. While some people saw “cramped,” she saw “cozy.” While some saw “small,” she saw “affordable.”

Seeing as I was still living at home, naturally we spent a great deal of our time at Lisa’s place. And I will admit that after just a few evenings of hanging out I quickly understood why she liked living there.

The apartment had a certain charm that more modern places just don’t have. The buildings in the complex were old to begin with and management wasn’t exactly the best with keeping things up to date. The hot water ran out quickly, you could hear pretty much everything the neighbors downstairs were doing and since it was right by Neshaminy Creek, the parking lot flooded any time it rained. But the coziness and intimacy of the apartment outweighed those negatives, especially for a young couple falling in love.

Some of the best memories I have of our relationship are attached to that apartment. Lisa would run off to get us ice cream whenever the Good Humor truck would come through. We would lay blankets on the floor and listen to tapes on her small portable radio for hours and talk. We cooked meals together, watched television, rented movies and spent an incredible amount of time getting to know each other in a way that I don’t think would have been possible in another place.

When we said “I love you” to each other for the first time, we did in the living room of that apartment.

I remember our first Christmas there like it was yesterday. It was Christmas Eve and I drove over to stay the night with her and then we would go spend time with family the next day. Seeing as it was our first Christmas together, I completely overdid it with the presents and went upstairs with my arms overflowing with wrapped packages.

When Lisa answered the door, I walked into an apartment illuminated in candlelight. It took my breath away. The tree was lit up too and underneath were gifts aplenty. She had cooked us a wonderful dinner and we exchanged presents, listened to holiday music and enjoyed a beautiful evening together. It forever made Christmas Eve “our holiday” and a special night just for the two of us I looked forward to every year.

I also remember the weekend of the Blizzard of 1996. All the weather forecasts we calling for a monster storm and I had no intention of staying home for it. As I was driving over to Lisa’s place the snow was just starting to fall and by the time we woke up the next morning, it was a full on blizzard. Once the snow stopped we trekked by foot to a 7-11 for cigarettes, chips, drinks and other supplies, laughing the entire time. We played in the snow, dug out our cars and helped Lisa’s neighbors dig out theirs and had an all around blast.

It was one of the greatest weekends of my life.

Lisa and I lived in a number of different places over the course of our 23 years together, some better than others. I often joked with her that we should never have moved out of that place. She always thought I was kidding around but I was completely serious. No other apartment made me feel as happy and optimistic as that small studio we lived in during our first years together.

To me, it was home.

I have realized that some day soon I will have to move out of the apartment I’m living in now simply because there are more bad memories here than good. However, no matter where I go, I will always have amazing memories of 300 Horsham Road. The place where I fell in love for the first time with a wonderful woman I adored more than anything in the world.

Can an apartment play a huge role in the birth of a relationship?

You betcha.

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