They say you can never go home again, and for many things this is so true.
I will never be be able to ride my bike down the Big Hill with no hands! again, nor wake up with my brother and sister and experience the magic and joy of Santa Claus coming.
I will never curl up in my fathers lap again to fall asleep, nor stand next to my mom as a toddler holding her wedding rings while she washes the dishes.
I was born 25 days after my parents moved into our house, so it has been the one and only home I knew growing up and it holds so many, many memories. As in any family, most were great, but some not so great (Italian mother and Danish father = oil and water at times). As I grow older and wiser, I have learned to embrace the great ones and try to let the not so great ones take a back seat.
While I can never be 8yo and free to roam our old neighborhood as a scalawag, I can go home and remember those experiences with my mother and siblings and let the memories flood over me like a healing balm.
This is the my brother and the fireplace I have written about before.
It was the focal point in our home, just as my father intended when he helped design the house. It always had a fire going in it on winter evenings (and I mean always), as you can see from the charred interior.
Today there are still ashes in it from the last time my dad lit a fire many, many, many years ago. There was a small, thick area rug in front of it on those flagstone floors and we would put our pillows down and roast in front of it while watching TV or playing pick-up-sticks. We also sat there while my dad played the mandolin for us or told stories of growing up in Wisconsin. I fell asleep in front of it often, and would wake just a little as my dad carried me to my room down the hall to tuck me in. I can still hear the whoosh and hum of the gas heater igniting as we passed by it.
In recent years the kitchen and bathrooms were remodeled and as beautiful as it is now, I wish my mother had not done that. There were little blemishes that are now erased: the gouges on the cabinet and doors where I used a spoon over and over again to pop the doors open, (on and aside not, my mom gave me that set of silverware and I now have those spoons. LOL!) and the area on the breakfast bar where I sat on my high chair and teethed on the formica edge as a tiny toddler.
The kitchen backsplash had stainless steel, 4×4 tiles and the countertops were Textolite formica in Silver Gray Twilight. 1965 at its best.
We are going to be putting new counters and a backsplash in our home here at the coast and I have spent hours scouring the internet looking for identical formica and tile to bring a little of my childhood to our own home. They don’t make the sparkle formica anymore, but I have found some that is very close.
When my mom passes one day we will have to sell that house and it just kills me to think of someone else living in it. I love that house, that my father built for his family, with my whole heart. Bill says “It’s just a a house Jody”, but he has no clue. He lived in several homes in his young life and moved numerous times because his dad was a doctor in the military. This home has been with us for 51 years. It isn’t just a house. It is dark stained mahogany and stone, embracing memories that are too many to recount.
My mother left my fathers small closet intact with his things still on hangers. I can open those doors, step in and inhale the scent of him 21 years after his passing. When I walk down the halls, I know every piece of flagstone on the floor and when I run my hand along the rock fireplace I can show you where each stocking hung at Christmas.
It is where I grew up and when another family is living in it, their new memories will swirl around mixing with ours and it will be hard for my brother, sister and I…but it will be as it should be.
No, you can’t go home again. But you can visit, drink some Limoncello and red wine, eat pizza with your siblings and conjure up those priceless memories.
When I am there, I can close my eyes, breath in deeply and pretend I am 8 yo again in the stone house on Juneau Rd.
And I smile.