Sunday, December 03, 2006

Home is... where?

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..."


  1. Thanks for making me cry like a three-year old.
    I think I needed the release. :)

    Moving and amazing, as always.

  2. nice piece that not only explains your feelings about losing "home", but also draws on our emotions--those of us who have expereinced similar things. My parents still live in the home I grew up in, but it's changed so much since my parents made two oversea sojouners--the first when I was in college--much of the "stuff" that made it the home I grew up in has disappeared.

  3. My parents sold my 'home' after I got married .... many moons ago. THEN bought a much bigger, nicer home that i'd always wanted as a kid... they said they could finally get one because they got rid of me. lol

  4. I'm with Elizabeth... well, not quite. They are there, but I refuse to actually cry... I'm stubborn like that!

    They say a house is not a home. But that one was. If home is where the heart is, it's okay for your heart to be in a particular place, with particular memories. If it wasn't somewhat about the place, you'd be "at home" while on the road with your family and friends. It just doesn't work like that, no matter how much the cliches say it should.

    Shitty time of year for the news, huh?


  5. Bone--love all the memories, especially your dad and basketball. Very very telling of your relationship

    You got the basketball poll--of course your sister would get one more thing--she's a girl and younger :-)

    Love the description of your room. Sounds very special--and the door leading to the carport. Kind of a nice way of living at home but not. Telling of both your parents and what they thought of you

    Love the kitchen priveleges story. Think setting a parents kitchen on fire is a rite of passage. Don't tell me that it's not

    I think when your parents sell their house it's a new beginning for the children though might not feel great at first

    Not that I would know--the family manse feels like a designated historical landmark

    Beautiful, wonderful post Bone, in the Miss Nona tradition.

  6. Elizabeth: Thank you. I thought it might be a bit melodramatic, but when it's how you feel, I guess that's OK.

    Sage: Thanks. I guess things changing and thoughts of home are two things most people can relate to.

    Kerry: My Dad converted my bedroom into his music room within two weeks after I moved out. My sister's room, however, stayed just as it was until he put the house up for sale.

    Traveling Chica: Thanks for not crying. I don't need to make more than two girls cry in the same day. That would be a record, even for me :)

    Pia: Thank you much. The room was pretty cool. Very Mike Seaver-ish. It was cool that they seemed to be thinking of me and how I'd want some independence at that time.

    A new beginning. I'll go with that.

  7. That's how you spell Seaver? Hmm. Interesting.

    Sounds like you'll miss that house quite a bit. Nostalgia is tough to get past. I feel the same way about the last house my family all lived in together. Even the condo my sister, my mom, and I shared together. It's part of growing up, I guess.

  8. I know what you mean. It's nice to go "home". My parents still live in the house we've lived in since I was 2. I feel bad, because when I was a snotty teenager, I made my mom feel bad about our house, cuz it was never big enough (I ran with the rich crowd). But now, I think it's just right. :)

  9. These are great memories Bone. You're lucky to have them. And they can't be taken away from you.

    I've burned stuff in the oven too. Usually making cookies last minute for a kid's function. Ever seen blackened chocolate chip cookies? I think they could have used them in place of the asbestos tiles on the space shuttle.

  10. It's amazing how memories can make us so attached to a building....I understand in some respect....When my ex and I moved from our house I was so sad....It was the house we bought together, we made some really great memories was the place we brought our child home to....even though it was just a house, it was our "Home" I still can't drive by without getting a little emotional.

    Thanks for sharing, I love the description of you and your dad....those will be memories that will last forever! Hugs!

  11. this post brought back strong memories of packing up my childhood home. it was heart-wrenching and i hadn't lived there for about 4 years but still, it symbolized so many of the things you speak of here. i'm grateful for the memories but it isn't the same as walking through the door. i understand that.

  12. Blondie: I believe that's how you spell it. Not that I'm a member of the Growing Pains MSN group or anything.

    Carmen: I think most kids were like that to some degree. There were a lot of times I wished we had more.

    Lass: Mine was a Mexican TV dinner. (Is that PC?) El Charrito!!! And after awhile, it all turns completely black, and you can't tell a tamale from an enchildada.

    RedNeckGirl: Yeah, obviously it's not just the building. It's the building plus what happened there.

    Ms. Sizzle: "i'm grateful for the memories but it isn't the same as walking through the door."

    Exactly. Well said, Ms. Sizzle.

  13. This is making me feel melancholy. I have lived away from home, but I now live in the home I grew up in. I think about what it will be like when I sell this place. It's the only real home I've ever had. To think of other people living here makes me very sad.

    The memories are in your heart not in the house.

  14. :-( Thats sad. But least you have the memories and a place to write them down and remember them. My dad talks about selling the house, the one i grew up in.... I always think there is some way i can afford it (ha.)

    Thanks for signing my guest map!

  15. "You know that point in your life when you realize the house you grew up really isn't your home anymore? All of a sudden, even though you have some place to put your shit, the idea of home is gone. Maybe it's like this rite of passage, you know. You'll never have that feeling again until you create a new idea of home for yourself for your kids or the family you started. It's like a cycle or something. I don't know, but I miss the idea. Maybe that's all a family really is: a group of people that miss the same imaginary place"

    Your post reminds me of this quote. I feel for you. Thanks for sharing your memories, they are wonderful.

    Here is your 15 ;-)

  16. That would be a new record, even for you? What, you make it a habit to only make ONE girl cry per day? ;)

    You better never get married then, or you'll be making all number of girls cry in that church. (Your mom, sister, wife, the bridal party... oh it wouldn't be good. ;))

  17. I'm not sure if it's a good thing or not, but my folks never stayed put long enough for me to worry about them selling "home."

    I guess that explains my marrying someone who moves around a lot. Our current house is the longest we've ever been in one place. And if we were to talk about moving, I'm sure DD would kill us! This is all she's remembered.

    I'm sorry (((bone))) that your parents sold home. I hope that they are very happy in their new house and that you soon grow to love it and fill it with many happy memories.

  18. I had an interesting upbringing, one that had us moving all the time, never having a real home. I've always wished I'd had that, someplace that even now, I could go visit, and have memories from when I was younger, neighbors that still lived in the neighborhood. I hope that I can establish that for my children. I know anywhere we've lived I've always made home, but I only want to move one more time, into a bigger house, and then when my kids come home from college, they come home to the home they've had since grade school.
    I'm sorry your house sold...I don't recall you saying in this post why it sold though...

  19. Carnealian: Wow, I don't think I knew that. Seems like you would have memories in every room there.

    Erika: I had the exact same thought when I found out Dad was selling it. That maybe I could buy it. But then I thought that living there would just be weird, for some reason.

    Maya: The thought of a home for myself and starting my own family did cross my mind while writing this.

    Traveling Chica: Yeah, not to mention all my ex-girlfriends :)

    Renee: We never moved a whole lot. I only had to change schools once. Seems like that can be a tough thing.

    Just B: I think that is a nice thing to aspire to. To have that home that your kids can come home to.

  20. I'm the oldest of five in my family, and we're going through something very similar to this. My parents keep discussing selling the final house we all grew up in to move to Las Vegas, and somehow, some way, they manage not to bring it to fruition. However, every time the conversation comes up, my brothers and I stare at one another, and you can distinctly feel the nervousness. As I live in Houston right now, it would tear me apart to know that there was no returning home, and I know my siblings feel the same way.

    All my life while I was there, I just wanted to leave and explore the world. Now, I simply dream of home. Funny how it comes full circle like that.

  21. Oh, I thought I covered them when I mentioned the bridal party: isn't that how they do things in the south? ;) (I'm being a brat, I know.)

    I think we both forgot your blog harem though... man, the tears! A new ocean could be filled Bone...

  22. lgThere. You've done it. You've made me cry while blogging. This is a first. Do you write for a living? Whatever you're doing - stop. Start writing something else. It'll be read.
    take care

  23. Marina: I hope you always have that place to come home to. Thanks for sharing.

    Traveling Chica: Geez. You're too much :)

    Renee: Again, I think you should get the guy down at the one-hour photo place to superimpose your images.

    East of Oregon: Thank you. Your words mean a whole lot. No, I don't write for a living. But I hope to someday.

  24. I know what you mean. My parent's kid around about moving up here when my dad retires. I thought about it the other day, though, and even though they would be closer, "going home" would forever be changed. I don't know how I would feel about that.

  25. Tenacious One: Plus, you gotta maintain your buffer zone :)