As I prepare to sell my parents’ home of the last 43 years this week, I am flooded with sweet memories. I remember the first night we stayed in this home I grew up in. It was 19 degrees in Conroe, Texas–a very rare occasion indeed, and the reason I remember it so vividly, (two weeks before our fourth birthday) is that we had no heat yet and so we got to spend the night in our hoodies (we called them sweatshirts then) and socks and every quilt we could find all in front of the first blazing fire in our fireplace.
Days were filled with Barbies and paper dolls in the room I shared with my twin sister until I was embarrassingly too old to still be playing with dolls. Evenings were for kickball and freeze tag in the neighbor’s yard, which of course won the prestigious award of being chosen for its three strategically placed trees that made the perfect baseball diamond, if you counted the welcome mat stolen from the front door and placed on the driveway as home base. I always liked it best that Tim, the team captain, picked me for his team, and I wasn’t last to be picked. He was in junior high, and turned out rather bad, but we’ll just stop on that note, and say it was an honor because he was quite cool to a third grade girl who couldn’t run fast to save her own skin.
Home was the place that I stumbled to after skinning my knee and walking my banana seat bike with a bent frame. The one where I could be brave all the way there, but as soon as I hit the front door, it was the safe place where I could burst into tears, “Mom, I messed up my bike, and blood is running from my knee.” Things became right again quickly there.
My backyard was reserved for swinging on the swings and contemplating life as I grew up. If I needed a spot, the cat would come and find me and sit as long as I needed some company. I worked out a good deal of my small world’s problems there on that swing with the cat, “Piewacket.”
The kitchen counter was my spot to dangle feet from and learn my multiplication tables as my mother cooked dinner. I remember her teaching me so many things, and she knew all the tricks, being an elementary school teacher.
I remember my dad getting home late and taking off his jacket and shoes at the back door, and the cool damp feel of the silky lining of his coat, and the still-warm leather of his shoes, as I put them on and pretended to be Daddy while everyone laughed. The attention promoted this performance often. I remember the smell of my dad’s wool robe in the early mornings and his pipe with the smoky apple tobacco. To this day, if I smell a pipe with nice tobacco, I think of Daddy.
So many memories I could write forever, but that one house that was loved by one family for all these years holds so many seasons of life for my family. I’ll stop at childhood, but I could also tell of getting ready for my wedding day in my room, the day I got a phone in my own room after my older brother went to college (the phone was “harvest gold” with push buttons) for my birthday, or the many deep, sweet conversations I had with my mom while she sat in her favorite chair. The house teemed with life abundant, and it defined so much of my grounding and security through the years. Soon, another family will love it, hopefully as much as we have, and I will never forget the cherished memories it offered a family of five in the suburbs. The house that contained all the memories and the mom that made all the memories (and took all the pictures) unfortunately are missing from the pictures I have. Hope you enjoy this random collection.
waiting on a special visitor. Jen’s on the left. I’m on the right by the famous fireplace where we spent the first night.
two (t00) cool fifth graders in their vinyl boots. (I’m on the right ready to leap.)
someone thought it funny to put Siamese twins in my brother’s high school play, “The King and I.” (Yes, that is aluminum foil on our heads.)