A House That Built Me.
Duuuuuudddde.....I just semi-quoted a lame country song.
I'm getting all saccharine over here folks. Some things just do that to me. Like thinking about my babies not being babies anymore. Like Dusty Springfield songs. Like super-special TV episodes.
Like my grandmother's house.
The house is for sale right now, and when I discovered that there was an Open House planned for this weekend, I sent out the family bat-signal...hoping to reach Lowreys far and wide who may have wanted to join me for a final tour/goodbye/so long/and farewell to the house that built so many of us.
Walking in I knew the house had greatly changed. Someone had purchased it as a rental unit and it had been through some hard times.
I walked in just waiting....straining....wanting so badly to hear the sounds so familiar to me for years: the crash of the screen door against the frame, the "click-click" of their Schnauzer Muffin's claws as he ran to the door, barking that high-pitched bark. "Hellloooooo!......" A hug....the smell of Grandma's detergent......the smell of coffee....the smell of THERE.
It was all too quiet.
The house didn't smell like it used to.
I never lived here, but I feel like this house raised me. I feel like the people within it's walls at any given time were my people....my base. I feel like whenever I would walk in and sink into Grandma's scratchy couch.....or curl up on their red living-room carpet (Yes. RED.).....I truly understood HOME. That feeling of belonging. I feel like I've been chasing that Red-Carpet-Curled-Up-Feeling ever since.
Whoever had been here since 2004 (when Grams and Gramps moved to their condo) didn't know that. They saw walls....floors...maybe too little closet space and a basement that probably could have used some updating.
Her drawer liners are still there.
Her stove is still there.
His workshop is still there.
Pieces of them, scattered throughout the place....
The wood floors could tell you so many stories.
The old, proverbial "if these walls could talk"
My aunt, my uncle, my mother, my brother....we all came in and the volume rose instantly....just like it did then. Our voices echoing around the empty rooms.
The house is so much smaller than I remember.
So much smaller than my memories, my stories, my childhood.
How could such little square footage contain so much?
There wasn't a stitch of furniture in the place.....I knew where everything was. Where everything belonged.
The linen closet where Grams stuffed years of mismatched towels and fitted sheets.
The pantry where she kept all of her canned goods in the basement.
The counter where she once cut her finger on an aluminum foil package edge and had to go get a tetanus shot.
I remember it like it was happening in front of me. It was one of the first times I realized Grams was vulnerable.
Grams was real.
Grams wasn't always going to be safe.
Funny what we remember.
What stays with us.
We stayed far longer than the realtor probably wanted us to.
We told stories.
We wondered what they would be thinking.
(I remarked "Grams would shit if she saw this." Always so poetic, eh?)
This house. The people it held. The stories it tells. The backdrop it served for countless memories. It built me. Piece by piece.
A lump in my throat, I still walked away today with a smile....feeling fortunate to have something so wonderful to miss so badly. Some people never get that....ever.
“Houses are like people - some you like and some you don't like - and once in a while there is one you love.”
- LM Montgomery