I’m quick to admit that I have a tendency to live in the past a bit too much at times. There are lots of happy memories there but I do my best to stay rooted in the present. And honestly, I miss the spontaneous part of my personality that existed then. However, times change as we do along with them.
Today I say goodbye to my childhood home. Was my time there always hunky dory? Of course not. But that house and yard played a big part in shaping me as an individual. It even has an auspicious beginning. While in the third grade, I was invited to a birthday party at a classmate’s house. The party had to wrap up early as each of us was instructed to call a parent for a ride home. Seems they had to “show” the house. I dutifully recited this information to my mother when she picked me up. We had moved to town the previous year and were living in a rented duplex. My mother dropped me back at the duplex, retrieved my father, and they went to see the house. Over fifty three years later, we are giving another family the opportunity to enjoy it.
As the youngest, I always received the smallest room. It never bothered me. As long as I had a comfortable spot to indulge my reading sweet tooth, I was fine. In addition to my bedroom, I could be found reading on the small screen porch just off the living room. We had a chaise lounge out there “bought” with several books of green stamps. Remember licking those and sticking them into the books? Back in the day, kids like me thought that was fun. And it was, because you then exchanged those booklets for merchandise.
There is a great yard that goes with the house. It’s a rectangular-shaped lot that runs deep from the road. Plus it has an additional side piece we called “the gulley.” In truth it was where a great deal of construction waste was buried in the late 1930’s when that neighborhood was being built. The gulley took on many roles in my childhood. During the Western phase of my childhood it was a box canyon, a mountain pass, or any variety of blizzard-swept plains. As bicycles became integral to my life, it became a “motocross” track, an obstacle course, or a place to facilitate an escape from unwanted intruders (see also, obnoxious playmates or older siblings).
As I gaze upon the gulley now, I marvel that it was so many things. My jaundiced adult eye sees a slightly overgrown depressed area of earth running alongside a rock wall that supports a perennial garden, also overgrown due to the ravages of old age (both the garden and my mom). I’m so glad it is a part of my past. Though it was a place of play, it was also a spot where I honed my mowing and gardening skills.
It’s a humid rainy day today. This evokes memories of massive summer storms which left the gulley brimming with a murky pool of water. Splashing and fun followed quickly as the giant pool of runoff only lived for a few hours as it made its way, as we do, into the earth.
I’m glad the gulley lives to see yet another child romp through it and I hope it creates pleasant memories for him. While I know I’m supposed to let bygones be bygones, I’m content to squirrel away memories that never fail to bring a smile to my face. God bless that house, it was a true home.