Tuesday, January 24, 2012
This is a photo of the house I grew up in after it burned last week in a fire. According to the news article, the fire started in the other end of the house, went through the attic and left the house a "total loss." My parents haven't lived there in 20 years but just this Christmas, my siblings and I were talking about it, remembering our phone number and other details about the house.
As recently as three days ago, before I heard about the fire, I was "walking" through it in my imagination, remembering things like the textured wallpaper on the walls of the entry way and my brothers' homemade bunk beds and the spot in my parents' bedroom where I used to sit and talk to my mom while she got ready to go out with my dad at night. My dad was a school superintendent and so chances are good that they were going out to a high school athletics banquet or an elementary PTA fundraiser but I always thought my mom looked so pretty and glamorous as I sat on the bed and talked to her in the little dressing area outside her bathroom.
My room was upstairs--the only room upstairs, actually. I imagined it to be a writer's loft (like Jo's in Little Women, for you male readers) or pretended it was my own apartment as I got older. Eventually, my little sister joined me there. When I was a teenager, she was just a preschooler and we would brush each others' hair at night if she was still awake when I came upstairs. We could sit on the desk and look out the big window and watch the fireworks at Ft. Hood on the Fourth of July -- the same window that my boyfriend threw little pebbles at in the middle of the night until I started yelling for my dad, not really getting the point.
Every boy I dated visited me in that house and we would sit in the game room for privacy if you can call it privacy when your parents and little brothers walk in every ten minutes. Later, I would sit out in the car with boyfriends in the dark until dad would flick the porch lights on and off, signaling me to come inside. When C and I went home for the first time after our wedding, that was the first time I had a boy in my room in that house.
I remember every detail . . . my dad's study with the tall bookshelves and the wooden desk, the chrome and yellow vinyl dinette in the kitchen (guess whose job it was to clean the chrome?), the big nubby sofa in the den sideways to the TV that was only occasionally turned on. I remember sitting on the stairs and reading the Chronicles of Narnia as fast as I could, hoping no one would call me to put my book away and come in and talk to the relatives. I remember doing puzzles and playing games my senior year when we had almost a whole week of unheard-of snow days.
There were happy times in that house and unhappy times too but for me, there were far more of the one than the other. Mostly there were the ordinary times of family life, an imperfect family full of genuine caring and faith, all doing the best they could.
Posted by T at 1/24/2012 05:01:00 PM