Monday, April 27, 2015

Memory Lane

Yesterday I turned 60.  A trip down memory lane was in order.

My husband, along with my good friend and former neighbor, gifted me with:

A tour of the house I grew up in.

 The house has been empty for a while, used for storage.

The colorful pictures that are included in today's post do not hold a candle to the vibrance and space that I beheld back in those days of old...  as I looked upon my home then, through a child's eyes.

The big bathroom that my dad had built onto the house forty some years ago, (after my mom saw a snake in the outhouse and insisted), had somehow become smaller through time.

The walls seem to be closing in on the living room/boys bedroom that once was.  It is nowhere near the size that it was so many years ago.  As I remembered it, there was a couch, a chair, a black and white television set, a rollaway bed in the corner, and a pot belly stove .   It would have been magic had all those things actually fit in that one little room and yet left us with as much free space as I remember there being.  Magic indeed.

Every room is so much smaller than I remembered.

As a little girl I spent many a night finding my way into Mom and Dad's bedroom, and then sleeping in between them.  I would fear nothing then, not the dark of night...  nor sickness.... nor the unknown... for my comforters surrounded me.

Maybe they call them houses because they house so many memories long after those living in the structure are gone.

I had to ask.  "Was this really our kitchen?"

My mom and dad's 25th wedding anniversary took place in this modest kitchen and seeing it today, it does not seem possible.  Magic.

With six kids and two adults, things must have been really tight.  Much tighter than I ever realized.

The kitchen holds a lot of memories.  Mom would pack our lunches in brown paper bags and put them in the fridge for school the next day.  Sometimes she would make hoagies and cupcakes with butter creme icing.  Since the kitchen was warmer, thanks to the pot belly stove in the next room,  I'd sometimes come to the kitchen in the middle of the night when I was very cold and tuck myself inside a pillowcase and lie on two chairs put together.  By morning the coals would have burned away and it would be cold throughout the house.

There was once a porch on the outside of the front of the house, where on hot summer days mom would give us outside baths once a week.

 Summer vacation would last forever.  We played mubley peg in the dirt and climbed the apple tree in our neighbors back yard, eating little green apples till we were sick, sick, sick.

We played wiffle ball with the neighbor kids and I would dress my cats in doll clothes and pretend they were my babies.  My imagination took me on journey's far away.

I would earn a little money babysitting the neighbor kids on either side.  Then one day the neighbors in the red house moved away and not long after that the house was burned to the ground.  A cemetery was put in its place.  We now had a cemetery to the left and a cemetery above us.

My dad was an electrician and my mom worked in a sewing factory.

Dad was 53 when he died of a heart attack.

Mom was 69 when her kidneys failed and she passed away,   complications of diabetes.

Back then, the little four room house was alive with activity.

And the hill was busy...

And though the memories are recorded in black and white...

They are sharp and extremely clear.

This is the bedroom that I shared with my two sisters.

I remember that window being thick with ice on cold winter days, the wind howling and somehow finding its way through to the room where we slept.

And then...  as springtime emerged, the sound of birds singing lovely songs of hope.  Such happenings beyond that bedroom window!

 Nose to the glass, as a young girl I beheld a mound of coal for the furnace and the old wooden outhouse to the left and the chicken coop and big tree to the right.  I'd climb that tree as I got older, and sit there and read or sometimes just think about things.   I loved my simple, carefree life.

My dad would park his car right here.  As a teenager I would go outside and sit in that car, to be alone and listen to some music or read a book.

I can still see Mom wearing her cotton dress as she pulled wet clothes from the basket and hung them on the clothes line, a light warm breeze whipping the clothes in the summer sun.

 The same road where we met Dad each afternoon as he came home from work with his lunch leftovers (the bucket), was the same road used for hopscotch, bike riding, and waiting with our dimes for Mr. Softee.

 Though the pictures in this post are scattered, the old and new intertwined,  it's obvious that the faded and mostly black and white ones are those of old and the new scenes bright, colorful and vibrant.

Me with sister Angie

But today I find that the real color, vibrance, and space is in those memories from days so long ago.

Thank you Gary and Sandy, for this wonderful trip down Memory Lane!  You made my birthday very special!

Sandy was our neighbor then, and now owns our old house.    It was so kind of her to turn us loose and let us reminisce.