My parents recently sold their home of 30+ years. This was a bittersweet day for them. and for me. and for Asher who cried hot crocodile tears when I told him Grandma and Papa were moving away from their Illinois, historic district, double-lot home next to the secret sidewalk, complete with the tree swing and sandpit, grill and outdoor tables, garage with a stocked fridge of pop and popsicles, and full of tractors, bikes, corn hole and and every other conceivable type of toy that made this home a grandchild’s paradise.
This home was the scene of my entire childhood and adolescence. I can still see the sun flooding the front room of the house early in the morning. And I can hear the continual flow of traffic from School street just below the southeast bedroom. I know the individual creaks and groans of each door and floor board from that almost 100 year old home. I can even smell the familiar smell of oak mixed with my mom’s perfume and the smell of meat and onions browning on the stove. I remember our summers–filled with cherry picking and pitting, garden planting and harvesting, continual bike rides around the neighborhood, and even a locust skin (ew!) collection.
I can still hear the sound of the canner late summer and the smell of stew simmering through the house. I can picture the pantry full of canned green beans, zucchini relish, and stewed tomatoes and the freezer full of strawberry jam, corn, and sour pie cherries. My mouth waters at the memory of our summer menu–filled with sweet corn, asparagus, green beans, radishes and cucumbers in vinegar and sugar.
I remember the daily drudgery of the paper route (though I still miss those Christmas tips). I remember learning to drive and backing out of that angled garaged and long, narrow driveway. More than one of us clipped the mirror on that garage and flattened the strip of grass on the north side of the driveway!
I remember building our barbie empires (as mom called them) in the basement.
I remember lying for hours under the lit Christmas tree and helping mom prep for State Farm Christmas bruncheons (I especially remember standing for hours at the stove and stirring, stirring, and stirring. Sometimes it was orange jello, sometimes eggnog sometimes cider nog, but whatever the case, I was not allowed to quit. I was the baby after all and got the monotonous, boring jobs =)
I remember delivering baked goods to friends, neighbors and shut-ins on Christmas morning, along with a rousing rendition of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” by the Rodman sisters’ trio.
I remember heartily singing along to the Reader’s Digest Christmas music collection with my mom and sisters. A tradition we seem to have all passed on to our own children.
I remember early morning big breakfasts and Sunday night nachos and malted milk shakes. I remember making snow ice cream.
And as I grew older, I remember this home as the place I brought my then boyfriend home to meet my parents.
Asher, my firstborn, took his first steps in this house.
I remember doing load after load of laundry here during Jared’s doctoral years (rather than having to pay a minimum of $2 per load at the facility at our on-campus apartment).
I remember sleeping Jude, at only 5 weeks in a basket on the kitchen table in this house.
All in all I look back at this home–the scene of my childhood, adolescence, college and per-marriage years, and I am utterly struck with nostalgia. I love this place.
(see those corner windows on the upper level? that was my bedroom–the coldest in the winter, hottest in the summer, and directly below the attic where the squirrels somehow got in to play and play!)
But those are just my memories. I was not the central character in that home. This is the home where my parents spent their early parenting years, retired years, and empty nest years. Thirty plus years of family drama unfolded on that stage. Thirty plus years of a faithful marriage, faithful ministry at church, and faithful discharging of various responsibilities. And as I consider this scene where those years of my parents lives played out, I pray that my marriage and life would unfold in the same faithful way and cause my children to grow up and be nostalgic about their childhood home. I want their memories of their growing up years to be like mine. I want my children to see me faithfully serving in my home, the scene of a happy marriage and the stage where small children grow up in the instruction and nurture of the Lord.
Aaaand, I’ve dwelt a little long in nostalgia-land. Reality calls me back! Here’s our final attempt at getting a decent picture with the kids in front of my childhood home.
Haven, being the least acquainted with the romance of this home, was oddly inconsolable about leaving. Here she is prostrate with grief!