Recently I had occasion to visit my parent’s home. On the surface that seems somewhat inane and a not point of conversation. You know, “Hey, I went to my folks house”, “Yeah, so what”. But, my folks aren’t here any more. In fact, Dad has been gone for 21 years, and Mom has been gone for nine. So I didn’t go to the house to visit them. I stopped by because it is being renovated, most likely for sale or for rent. At first, the idea of the house leaving the family was bothersome. After all, that was my Parent’s house, and I live there too. But then, after some reflection, it dawned on me that it is just the house where my parents lived. It was their home, but now it is just a house.
I wondered why it seemed so important. After all, I only lived there from the time I was twelve until I was 17 when I enlisted in the Navy. But what amazes me it the impact those few years had. While I lived there I went from grade school to high school, went to my first dance, met my first true love (or so it seemed) kissed my first girl, had my heart broken for the first time, and, well, a lot of other things I prefer not to mention.
As I walked through the house, I saw many places that brought back a flood of memories. Hey, there is where I used to hide my cigarettes. Up in the rafters of the basement was a shoe box of bicycle parts from the bike I took apart but never managed to get back together. I wonder why they kept them. I looked into the backyard where I spent many hours. Somehow it looked smaller now. The weeping willow tree was gone, the creek had been piped and covered over (where did the crawdads go?).
It was then I realized it was not the house, it was the memories of the house, and of Mom, and of Dad, and my sisters. Not to mention my dog, cat, and turtle. But has I sit here writing, I have the memories. The memories I get to keep. They belong to me. I must admit, as I get older there are a few holes in the fabric of my memory, but it is mostly intact. So, you can sell the house, you can change the landscape, you can cover up the hole where I hid my cigarettes. That doesn’t matter, just the memories do, and you can’t take that away.
What are your thoughts?