Monday, May 10, 2010

The House That Built Me



I truly love this song. Although they say you can't go home again, you can. If some things are so constant, you really can go home, even if you yourself have changed. Yesterday, Rick took the kids and me to my parents, and we drove by Tracy's -- well, where her house used to be before the city wiped it away -- and there's part of the fence that surrounded her backyard pool, and I desperately want to go and get a section and bring it to my own house and keep it, and in keeping it, keep the memories of her house that's now gone, and of us swimming in her backyard. But to do that, I think I'd need a blow torch or something to break the wrought iron free enough for me to snag it and then run.

And we got to my parents' house, and the huge live oak from the front yard is gone thanks to the Snow Day of 2010, but it's the same. Mom and Dad are at the door, ushering us in with hugs, and food is everywhere -- brisket and pecan pie -- it's the same. And you go out in the backyard and see their flowers growing better and bigger than a commercial ever could and even though he's not doing it right then, the picture of my dad in his overalls watering the backyard is the same -- the same it has been for so long that it's etched in my mind forever. Like Granny Souder and the hoe and her garden in the front yard, even though she's been gone for 15 years, the memory is the same, branded in our minds, and anyone who knew Granny or remembers any time at my house at all with Dad knows exactly what memories and pictures in the mind that I mean.

But it's not just me that was built with that house. I think anyone close to me growing up as a memory -- a STRONG memory -- of my parents' house. We had the pool table and the ping-pong table and the basketball hoop and a yard full of kids sometimes. Or going to my parents' house just to raid the fridge and cabinets, because it was always stocked. The memories there aren't just memories for me, but memories for so many people, this constant never changing world of The Bobo House. When people ask about my parents, I say, "They're great -- they're just the same" and people know instantly what I mean, transported to their own memory of the home my parents created.

I've moved 17 times since leaving that house. Even for my own kids, their house is the "home", the constant, the safe place. The idea of them moving, or the house belonging to anyone outside of the family leaves me mentally crippled. My mind can't grasp the idea. That wouldn't be a good change. Life needs certain guarantees and that's one of them.

Now that Rick and I are together and building our new future, with our new house and our gardens and our own holidays, I can only hope I'm able to create a home that builds up others the way my parents' house built us, even if I'm 20 years late getting started. If I can give others a fraction the memories my parents gave me and so many others out there, I know I'll have accomplished something spectacular.

I just hope my parents know how significant they are as well as the house they loved and nurtured, and what their home has meant: It's the House the Built So Many.

I love you, Mom & Dad!

4 comments:

TerriOsburn said...

What a beautiful tribute, Brenda. I lost the connection to my childhood home many years ago, others live in it now. I've often felt the urge to knock on the door and explain how much of my life is in those beams and stairs and walls, and wonder if they'd mind me stepping in for a minute.

Since I'm 500 miles away when these urges strike, I've yet to follow them. But maybe someday. And I too have the dream of making a home where my daughter can always return and feel safe and revel in good memories.

Lexi said...

Seriously, it's May 25th. Where are your posts, slacker? :) And how's that book coming? Nationals?

Brenda said...

I know, I'm a horrible slacker! Doesn't look like I'll be at Nationals since they moved it :(

I'm bummed!

Mary Stella said...

Beautiful post. After my mother died in 1998, my brother and I sold the family home and I eventually moved to Florida. When I go up to Jersey to visit, I often drive by the street where I grew up. The people would let me come in and look around if I asked, but something holds me back. I realize that the memories of the home and family will always be inside my head and heart.