Tuesday, September 20, 2005

5 Maple Street

They're selling the house I grew up in, and today my mother and I went to see it. When I was 5 this was my bedroom window. It was my bedroom window when I was 14, too. I'm crying too much these days; everything feels acute.

There were ghosts in that house. I wondered if I'd still feel them, now that I'm grown and distracted. I climbed down into the basement to look for them, and could still smell the coal though the coal bin is long gone. Always hated that basement; that hasn't changed. Maybe they were floating there, behind the stairs. I didn't check.

Suddenly, a deluge of them: my mother pulling a needle out of my brother's finger up in the hallway; my father cutting a hole in the sheetrock to pull out the cat, who found a way in and got stuck; my brother hiding in the bottom of a closet when he was 2, all of us afraid and calling for him; me in the bathroom, listening to my mother crying because her best friend had died; a certain grate in the floor, and me sitting beside it listening again and again to a wind-up music toy; my father catching me practicing womanhood with click-clack high heels on the cement floor in the garage, telling me it took more than shoes to make a woman. On and on. My father built that house. I remember almost every board; back then I was Lovey the Carpenter--his stand-in son, until the real thing came along. That home was my haven.

Place matters. There's a lot tied up in it--in the nails and the space and the beams. Note to our heads of state.

19 Comments:

Blogger nancy =) said...

"it takes more than shoes to make a woman" - i'll be borrowing that one, fer sure...i got goosebumps reading that post...thanks for that, inger...peace...

12:45 PM  
Blogger Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Inger,
I was so moved reading this post. It is a shame that the house could not be kept in the family. What a legacy your father built... and that there are so many personal things, memories, etc. linked to it. It is like you are giving something precious to others who won't continue the legacy. Reminds me about how you felt about your Uncle Ivar and his treasures. Makes sense to me that everything feels "acute". How could it be anything *but* that?

Take care,
Deb

1:59 PM  
Blogger Trudy Booty Scooty said...

What a beautiful post, Inger...

I felt like I was there with you.

Are you ok?

2:06 PM  
Blogger annie said...

lovely thoughts AND photos!

3:20 PM  
Blogger Heidi said...

Wow, Inger I can totally relate..Whenever I have my siblngs visiting we go over to our old house..This was about 2 weeks ago. Memories come flooding, emotions rise. I felt like a peeping tom..Looking through the windows, going into the back yard.
It's a good thing noone was home at the time.

Thanx for sharing and hugs to you.

4:49 PM  
Blogger AKH said...

That was a great post Inger. Thank you. Love the pictures too.

P.S. I'm going to submit that resume ... tomorrow, how about you?

LOL

6:15 PM  
Blogger Sher said...

Loved the bedroom window pic. I can feel you standing there looking out at the life that once was and the life you left it for.

Wanna catch a movie? (sigh) Only blog friends miles apart.

9:08 PM  
Blogger Grumpy Old Man said...

Very nostalgic and tender post, without being mawkish.

Did the house seem SMALL? Places often do when you go back to them.

11:31 PM  
Blogger taza said...

what a bittersweet post. ahh the memories that places and things bring us.
my fear about clearing out the t-shirt drawer? losing the memories associated with each one!

1:00 AM  
Blogger Anna Mason said...

WOW. What an awesome post. THIS is exactly what I was hoping you would start writing more of. "I'm crying too much these days; everything feels acute." I'm sorry you are crying more, but I understand...and for me sometimes crying is a relief to being all tied up on the inside. My mom has taken me to her childhood house that is barely standing now. It is her goal to make sure all of her children visit there, well before you know. It is cool that you still spend time with your mother and that you allow yourself to feel things from your past like that. Thanks for sharing!

2:21 AM  
Blogger scribble said...

I loved this post so much.
It spoke so clearly of a love for what was then and the realization that a home is always with us. Even when we have left it.
Our home too is our Haven, my desire to allow my children to be able to say, I grew up there, soon to be fulfilled. Encouraging the fight in me not to allow anyone to take this from us.
Thank you for this...

8:30 AM  
Blogger MaryMary said...

Wonderful, heartfelt post, Inger! This touched me so much because my dad just sold our family home (after mom died it was too hard for him to stay there).

I hope that you can find peace with the passing of this special place. I hope a young family moves in with a gaggle of kids to fill up that space with enough love to scare the creepy ghosts away and keep memories alive!

10:19 AM  
Blogger ConnieJane said...

What a wonderful entry.

Thank you for sharing your memories. They are beautiful.

3:22 PM  
Blogger stevie.be. said...

our homes are supposed to be our refuge and it looks like that is exactly what yours was. thank you inger, this was truly beautiful. i love these photos. which one are you?? :)

something about certain locations on the planet, a few nooks here and there, that change us forever, kinda like people.

10:26 PM  
Blogger I n g e r said...

That's me, riding the bike. And in the group pic, I'm the one behind Mom's left shoulder. Ah, memories...

7:16 AM  
Blogger Sublime said...

I only wish I had a place to feel that way about.

We moved too many times in my childhood to ever feel like any one place was "home". Sometimes I long for it...

Thanks for sharing your "home" Inger.

Take care,
Sublime

9:11 AM  
Blogger sttropezbutler said...

Inger that was beautiful.

STB

6:56 AM  
Blogger kath said...

Place does matter..

I have two places frommy past.. my grandmothers farm.. and my great grandmothers house.. they were constants to me..

we moved a lot when i was a child.. and no one house became home. I can still smell each of those places.. and drive by them now and then..

Nature has reclaimed the farm.. but I can still identify two of my favorite trees.. one is a willwo close to the road..

My great grandmothers house looks completely different, but I can smell her home each time i think of her..
I miss both of these women and what they taught me.. and gave to me.

Sad to see your old home go.. I am sorry.. but, you are making a whole new home for the family that youhave.. you are making their memories..

and you are quite good at it i think.. chocolate milk or no..

:)

8:28 AM  
Blogger www.kimmy.cc said...

That was wonderful!

9:45 PM  

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