Dad sold the house last week. Not the house I grew up in, but the last house I lived in when I left home. The last place Mom, Dad, my sister, and I ever lived, together.
The house had a third bedroom that had been added on behind the carport. The south wall of the bedroom was all brick, having formerly been the exterior of the house. And the ceiling sloped from about twelve feet at the brick wall down to about six feet at the back.
The room was set lower than the rest of the house, with concrete steps leading down from the kitchen. And, most importantly, there was an outside entrance from the carport at the other end of the room. This was my bedroom. It sort of felt like my own little one room apartment. With kitchen privileges, of course.
When we moved there, I was probably nineteen. And I was so excited that I spent two nights sleeping on the living room floor before we'd even moved any of our things. It was just me, a pillow, a blanket, and a telephone sitting on the floor.
So many memories come flooding back about the house and the neighborhood. There was the elderly lady across the street who at least twice gave cars parked in front of our house a gentle nudge. If you saw her backing out, you knew not to be anywhere near the road.
She'd always come and apologize when she hit something. Fortunately, she never drove more than four miles per hour, so the damage was never visible without a microscope.
I fondly remember, especially this time of year, climbing up on the roof to hang Christmas lights. Mom loves Christmas lights and we always tried to have a nice little display for her. Late November/early December was always a time of extension cords, staple guns, and replacement bulbs.
I remember Dad and I putting up the basketball goal. Pouring Quickrete for the pole. And that reminds me of Dad's shot. Which makes me smile and cringe all at the same time. Which, if you saw it, you'd laugh. But he's my Dad and I love him for trying, and thinking about it now makes me sad.
I remember afternoons in the backyard chipping plastic golf balls onto the roof. Mom's family coming over on the Fourth of July. The countless times I mowed that yard. When my sister begged for and got a trampoline. When my sister begged for and got a cheap above ground pool. Beginning to notice a pattern here?
And then there was the time I temporarily lost my kitchen privileges. I had put a TV dinner in the oven when I got home from work at 1:00 in the morning. And then promptly fell asleep. I woke up two hours later to smoke, one of the five most awful stenches ever to pass thru the portals of my nostrils, and of course, angry parents.
It was the house I lived in for most of the time I was in college. It was where I lived when I met and began dating Lily. And it was the home I left, when I left home.
A few months ago, a truck arrived at my door, loaded with furniture and cardboard boxes. Dad had begun to clean out the house and we were dividing the things we wanted, before selling the rest. Among other things, I got a lamp, a coffee table, and a dresser that had been my sister's. But what I got didn't begin to compare to what it felt I was losing.
I know, home is where the heart is and all that. But there's something safe and comforting about having a tangible place to come home to. Knowing that no matter how far away you may wander, it's there, waiting. Someplace familiar, filled with memories and warmth. They say a house is not a home. But that one was.
No one had lived in the house for the last six months or so. But still, it was there. And it was ours. Finding out last week that it had sold left me feeling nostalgic. Reflective. And more than anything, homesick.
Homesick for a place that exists only in my memory.
"Then winding down that old familiar pathway, I heard my mother call at set of sun. Come home, come home, it's suppertime..."