Thoughtful Thursday – Going Home

Pansies growing in Bryant Park.  I snapped this on the way to work todayToday’s Thoughtful Thursday was inspired by a beautiful piece that came across one of my loops. Thanks, Morgan for letting me repost (you can see it down below).

When I think of home, I think of pansies and the droopy arms of white birches rustling in the wind. My mom loved those pansies and birches, along with the roses she religiously tended in the sandy dirt of our Levittown home. That home seemed so big to me. The road immense as we ran the bases playing stick ball on damp summer days.

I went back a few years ago and was surprised by how small the house looked. The street was so narrow, it was hard to go down the block past a parked car. The house looked pretty much the same, with my mom’s multitude of azalea bushes (another favorite) losing the last of their colorful blooms, but even thought it hadn’t changed all that much, I knew it wasn’t home anymore.

What do you think about home? Have you gone back? Whether you do or not, as Morgan noted, those memories are locked in your heart, forever with you no matter where you go. And yes, that is the way it should be.

Visiting old, familiar places is interesting, isn’t it? You can see
where you are, and where you were, all at the same time.

That expression, `you can never go home again’ is quite a
literal one for me. The two rural houses where I lived the beginning of
my life—as an infant through my teen years and then later, through
the first fifteen years of my marriage—have both been torn down. New
homes, shiny and elegant, stand in their stead. Poignantly, for me at
least, the only remaining identifiable landmark of the one
house—where I lived with my mom, and then with my young family after
mom passed—are the two flowering crab trees my brother, sister and I
gave Mom for the last mother’s day we had her, in 1975.

The trunks of those trees are weathered and gnarled; they are, after
all, over thirty years old. But they bloom each spring. I drove past
them today, and saw the beginning buds of the pretty pink flowers.

Then the memories took over, and I recalled how pleased Mom was to get
the trees; she had two round flowerbeds in the front lawn of our story
and a half stucco house. She’d wanted flowering crabapple trees in
the centre of these two round gardens for a long time.

The beds held daffodil and narcissus, tulips and poppies that bloomed
every year. When the perennials died out, she’d plant pansies and
petunias, portulaca and alyssum.

There was also a large square flowerbed to the left of the round ones.
Oh, how I stilled my impatience when Mom would drag me over on a tour
and point out each returning bloom as it broke the surface in the
spring. And oh, how I wish I’d paid closer attention after she was
gone! Springtime in that house was always sweet smelling; Lilacs edged
one side of the nearly one acre property. Lily of the valley ran rampant
over half the yard.

Deciding to sell that house, as we did in 1986, was the hardest decision
I’ve ever made. This was the home in which first my father, and then
my mother, had died. It was the home in which each of my three children
had been conceived. I felt in tune with every nook and cranny, every
board and beam. Somehow, over the years, that old farmhouse had become a part of me. Leaving it, and the familiar grounds surrounding it, felt
like leaving a part of myself behind.

Perhaps not so strangely, I’ve never become attached to a home in
quite the same way since. And now, when I drive down that familiar
stretch of road, it’s really, for the most part, just another piece
of pavement.

The memories, after all, are tucked inside my heart. What’s
left—the actual, and the physical—pale in comparison. And that,
I think, is how it’s supposed to be.


4 thoughts on “Thoughtful Thursday – Going Home”

  1. Sounds wonderful. I have great neighbors and there is a “small town” feel to that neighborliness, but it would be nice to be able to walk to Main Street, grab a coffee or shop and then head home. Also nice to know everyone around.

  2. Oh, I actually live in a small town. I can cross from one point to the other in 15 minutes. I can go anywhere walking – but I don’t ‘coz I’m lazy. *lol* Anyway, when I bought my new house, the thing that helped me seal the deal was the fact that it was right next to my parents’ house. They’re elderly people, so having them that close is best when they get sick.

  3. That is so cool! My daughter and I were talking about the small town way of life and living so close and we both liked the idea.

    Time to search for a nice small NJ town close to NYC . . .

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