Saturday, June 30, 2007

Because you can't go home again~



The grey Cape on 32 Pine Street is empty-- no life or activity inside, unless you count the spiders spinning the messy cobwebs they never got away with when my parents' were there.

My father is dead; my mother in an assisted living home.

Their house should have been sold by now, or rented. But that is a tale of two siblings not to be told here.

Still, I won't have the key to the back door forever, and today something called me to drive the half hour to see the house I grew up in. I usually listen when that "something" speaks.

I wandered through every room, most empty or nearly so. Most things have gone to the auctioneer for an estate sale. What remains are odds and ends. Things that aren't trash, but no one really wants.

I had my camera, and took pictures, inside and out. Not big pictures-- pictures of rooms or the yard-- but pieces of pictures, the details I think of when I remember the house I grew up in.

I took:

The tiny window in my attic bedroom, the one I knelt in front of to watch blizzards and thunder storms.

The view out the kitchen window, where I watched chickadees vie with squirrels at the feeder my father built.

A patch of living room wallpaper that hasn't yet been removed and replaced by paint. My parents never changed that wallpaper; it's almost as old as I am.

A pattern of light from the dining room window where my father's collection of old glass goblets once caught and reflected the sun.

The wooden china cabinet door that still reveals the crayon marks I made long ago.

And outdoors:

the beech tree we gave my father for Father's Day in 1957, a sapling then, like I was. Now I can't put my arms around it.

A decaying wooden bench my father made for my mother to rest the laundry basket on when she hung clothes on the line

A rock under which a beloved dog is buried

The stonewalls and stone steps my father built, sweat pouring down his face while he wrestled a rock with a crowbar

Who said, "You can't go home again?" I suppose in the most literal sense you can't. If home is where the heart is-- or was-- and you have pictures and memories, that's as close as you can get. It's enough. It will have to be.

4 comments:

PSV said...

Ruth,
Gosh, this reminded me of my childhood house on North St.- my attic room, the window seat, the big elm tree with carved initials,socks drying on the open oven door,my father's beagles, and
the smell of my mother's blueberry pies baking in the oven. See what you've done. Who says you can't go home again!

Ruth D~ said...

I'm glad to travel home with you, Pat. I think you should write your own essay, if for no other reason than to "keep the light on in the old homestead." Nice memories, and that blueberry pie . . . I smell it, too.

Dawn said...

Beautiful and we all take that trip. My brother just emptied out our mother's house as she's in a nursing home and won't be going back to that house. I can't get my mind around all of that and since I live so far away, I can pretend things have not changed -- until I return. Your photographs are perfect. You are so talented!
Dawn

Ruth D~ said...

Thanks, Dawn. It would appear that we're going through the same passages of life at the same time. Misery loves company? Nah, it's not bad at all. Kind of a nice time of life, I'm finding. You?