After the two dreary apartments, it was nice to be back in a house again, even though it was on a very busy street, it was far from my high school, and the building wasn't in very good shape. It was about a mile and a half from downtown and two blocks from the campus of Bradley University (there was a fraternity house right across the street).
One entered the living room, passed into a dining room, behind which there was a sunporch and next to which was the kitchen. Upstairs, three bedrooms and a bath. My sister was away at college, but my soon-to-be stepfather was now living with us. It wasn't that long until I too departed for college and left Peoria for good. After that, home for me was where I was, not where my family was.
The major feature of life while I lived in this house was music. I had become very serious about the piano and was studying with an especially fine teacher, practicing my fingers to the bone every day. In fact, I got up very early, walked the two miles to my high school, was let in by the custodians through the boiler room, and practiced on a good grand piano for almost three hours before school started. All this took special permissions, but they were fairly easily obtained in light of my demonstrated interest and talent.
It's not too much to say that I had become a music monomaniac. Also excused from study halls (I had high marks anyway), I got in some additional practice during the day and again after school before going to my evening job as a newspaper copyboy. Three days a week, the midday practice was replaced by a lesson at my teacher's house, about six blocks from school.
It was, to say the least, a very stimulating time, and perhaps the most consistently productive period of my whole life. I did manage a social life as well, so I wasn't the typical musical wallflower or what today might be the archetype of the geeky computer nerd. But I was incredibly serious about playing the piano and I did make excellent progress for the almost two years this regime lasted before I went off to college.