Thursday, July 3, 2014

the house

Sorry it's been so long, I promise to update on the whole surgery process. I've been a little slow lately...recovery is not quite as bad as I anticipated but it's still frustrating and it should be for such a large, long operation.

But this is where my thoughts lie today. I believe I have mentioned before that I have been in the process of cleaning out my grandparents' house over the past couple years. And that if you have ever been responsible for such a thing you understand why it takes such a very long time. Anyway, while involved in this process, I've not had much time for feelings about it, other than getting it done. I've had a baby, had cancer, a bunch of "life" has happened while I've been in this process. And frankly, there were such bad feelings around the house in the last few years - my grandfather's dementia, having to evict my uncle and the preceding and following strife around that whole debacle, my grandmother's decline, the increasing deterioration of the house - that frankly, I just wanted it over with, done and gone.
But now that it is done, now that the papers are signed to put it up for sale, now that I looked on this morning and saw it it's real and now I feel it. And now, like I suspected would happen all along but didn't want to admit, now it

It's the place that raised three kids and many animals over the past 64 years.

Adding on to the original 2/1 house.
My mom and uncles

It's the place that when I had dreams when I was little and they took place "at home", that's where they were, not in the crappy apartment where I lived.

My first Easter Sunday with my grandparents
It's the place where I spent the majority of my childhood, where 90% of my childhood memories live, where my name is still carved in the cement of the driveway, on a small square between the sidewalk and a dilapidated fence built by my pop pops hands.

JLC 1983

It's the place where I could walk to the next block over and go to the house in which my grandfather was born, where my aunt (his unanticipated twin) was placed in the warming oven of the stove because she was so small.
Some unknown holiday dinner
Halloween circa '84?
It's the place where I learned to roller skate down the sidewalk, and almost lost control of my bike going down the steep hill at the top of the street, it's the place where I learned about crushes on boys (my friend had a crush on one of the neighbors grandsons - I still thought boys were icky and had no idea why she would do that...funny enough, that boy and I are still acquaintances)
It's the house in front of which most of my "milestone" pictures were taken - baptism, holidays, graduations...

Christmas of some unknown year
It's the house in which my grandfather built all of the kitchen cabinets, which will likely be torn out and tossed away.

It's the backyard where all of my childhood pets are buried.

The graveyard resides in the back left corner

Suburbs anyone?

It's the shed where I spent hours upon hours watching my uncle (not the one we evicted) work on his motorcycles, sitting on them, pretending I was flying down the highway.

Mom getting ready for a dance
It's the house where my uncle tried to teach me to ride a small motorcycle, where I took the corner down the driveway a bit too fast one day and dropped the bike (going all of what, 10 miles an hour?), where my mom freaked out, scared me and I subsequently never rode a bike again.

The motorcycle riding uncle, 1969

Random card game

My grandmother

It's the street down which my uncle tried to teach me to drive a stick (didn't work, had to learn it on my own, on the rainiest day of the year).


My uncle with Arlo
It's the backyard where I helped my pop pop garden, plant, build, create.

My pop pop's work shed
It's the back bedroom where I had my first kiss the summer after 8th grade.

It was the house where on a Saturday morning when I was 5, I learned what loving your animal until the end meant when our dog Arlo was taken to be put to sleep, with my mom and uncle crying all the way there and back.
Arlo and Horatio
It's the house where so many of my cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. visited over the years, when so many of the other family houses had dissipated.

One of the few times in the past 25 years my grandmother allowed the fireplace lit

It's the place where, in the living room, my grandfather took his last breath less than 500 feet away from where he took his first one.

My grandparents
It's the house in which, while cleaning it out, I am 100% certain that there were multiple times in which my grandfather and uncle made their presence quite known and scared the bejeezus out of me.

It's the place that when you're driving around the neighborhood after being away for many, many years, taking the back way out of the shopping center, and you don't really remember the right way to go but your steering wheel just follows what your hands do, which are turning without thinking, and you feel the way back that you've taken a million times before, that you apparently could truly do with your eyes closed.
For all intents and purposes, whether I wanted it to be or not, it was my touchstone. I will likely go back up to the house one or two more times and once, for certain, I will sit in the living room, by myself, and cry. And say goodbye.

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