Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Empty House

This morning when I stopped for coffee on my way to work, I happened to see the the man who lived next door to us when I was growing up.  In the course of our conversation, it came up that he is trying to buy my old house, as it's been abandoned. 
Walked away from. 
I drive by the house every now and again and over the last year or so have wondered if anyone was actually living there anymore.  It was always kind of overgrown and difficult to spot through the leaves but it's gotten progressively "woodsier" around the house and driveway, which is why I asked if it was inhabited anymore. 
I know it's not the first house to be abandoned - especially in this day and age.  And I'm not about to go on a tear about foreclosures and the state of the economy or anything of the sort. 
It's sort of sad, isn't it, when you think about the place you called home as a child now sitting lonely and forgotten?  Nevermind that the people who moved in after you probably changed a bunch of things, the outer shell was still that house, the yard had still been part of home. 
I was four years old in that house.  I disappeared in the grass when my parents first looked at it because the grass was so tall. 
My brother and sister were infants in that house.  Heather learned to walk in that house.  Michael scooted around the living room there. 
We had awful rugs - punk ass orange and mustard yellow in the bedrooms.  There were mustard appliances. 
I blew the door off the microwave there by trying to bake chocolate chip cookies in a metal pan.  I got my finger stuck in an electric mixter's beaters. 
We went sledding down the driveway, sometimes crashing into bushes.  I managed to knock myself out on Uncle Ned's muffler when my sled went under his car. 
Dad found a nest of mice in the first shed we had.  I had my rabbit in his hutch outside.  I played in the runoff stream on the side of our property and tried to find treasure.  I played in the orchards and picked raspberries.  We had the only mulberry tree left on Mulberry Lane until the town cut it down.  Dad tried to put together our swingset and one of the poles fell on his leg and cut it wide open.  I burned my kneecaps on the exhaust pipes of his motorcycle there. 
I had bunk beds there and sleepovers and roasted marshmallows in mayonnaise jars and plastered my walls and ceiling with posters and pages ripped from magazines.  I made my first attempts at writing a book in that house.  We had Night of the Living Bands that Suck in that house and listened to Billy Ray Cyrus on my mom's stereo.  I played Barbies and Nintendo and put Pledge on the floor to see the dog slip, which was funny until my mom slipped instead.  Well, it wasn't funny to her.

That house provided the venue for my valuable lesson about the physics of flinging ice cream cake into a spinning ceiling fan.  It introduced me to the absolute terror of a "crawlspace" where I was convinced if I went three inches into it, I would end up with a nest of spiders in my hair. 

My sister got suspended in that house for flipping off the bus driver.  I wished I'd flipped her off in my day.
The rotary phone in the kitchen had a cord on it that would stretch all the way to my bedroom at the opposite end of the house, where I would talk to my boyfriend all night long.  Do you know how hard it is to silently dial a rotary phone?  Next to impossible, but I mastered it. 

There are a million more things I remember about that house and some of them feel as though they happened yesterday.
I wonder if there is still writing on the inside of the cabinet doors in the hallway by the bathroom.  I wonder if any of the impressions of the Place family are still there. 
I don't know if I should hope if it gets torn down or not.  While there are a lot of bad memories in that house, there are a lot of good ones, too. 
That house may have lost all of its traces of us....but we will never lose our memories of it. 

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