Four questions: Toni Childs, House of Hope

[Toni Childs - House of Hope]


Toni Childs


House of Hope

Original Release Date

June 25, 1991

Purchase Date

August 26, 2016 for the CD. I would have bought the cassette version around the time of its original release.

What is the memory you most associate with this title?

My bus commute from home to the University of Hawaii. It usually took the length of the album to finish.

What was happening in your life when it was released?

I would have been taking summer classes at UH at the time. I actually deferred my entry to college from fall 1990 to winter 1991 because I was burned out by my senior year in high school. My mom also had gone through heart surgery, so she needed help to recuperate. The summer session of 1991 was my way to catch up.

What was happening in your life when you bought it?

I had bought Toni Childs’ debut album and liked it enough to get this second album, probably right when it was released in 1991. I didn’t like it enough to get it on CD till I spotted it at Lifelong Thrift Store, where I bought it for $0.10 during the monthly CD sale.

I wanted to go college on the Mainland like my friends, but my parents couldn’t afford it. I got over my disappointment fast enough when I started my music classes. I also started my first job that year, working at the circulation desk of the A/V center in the undergraduate library. In short, I was taking those first few steps into adulthood.

I would later discover how much in tuition my parents were paying — let’s say, significantly less than the years of Catholic private school leading up to it — and I’ve been thankful ever since for never acquiring student debt.

What do you think of it now?

It took me a few spins to warm up to House of Hope, but Union is definitely the better album.

The music on House of Hope takes a darker turn, and when I rediscovered the album in 2016, the contrast with Union struck me.

I even questioned how I had grown to like the album in the first place. However much I liked taking more responsibility for my life in 1991, it was under a cloud of heartbreak. One of those friends who went to the Mainland for college was the first person with whom I fell in love.

I’m sure I was in a more receptive state of mind for an album that dark.


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