Friday, 20 January 2012
You Can Never Go Home Again - Or Can You?
By Dani Ferguson Phillips of The Cataract Club
When I was eight years old, my family and I moved to a beautiful new home. Having moved from the modest two-bedroom frame home of my childhood, this glorious four-bedroom home felt nothing less than grand.
One of the many attributes of the French provincial home was the parquet floor that went throughout.
I lived in this house with my family until I was 20 years old. Over time, the parquet floors started to show some wear and some of the wooden tiles had become loose and could be removed. There were loose tiles all over the house and I decided I would leave hand written notes under them.
I’d write my name and age on a small piece of paper along with the date and fold it flat and put them under the tiles. Sometimes I would jot down something about my family or who my boyfriend was at the time.
On my wedding day, I was in my room getting dressed when my shoe happened to kick up one of the loose tiles in my closet. I decided to leave one more message.
My parents sold their home in the summer of 1977. Since that time the house has had several owners. Last summer, 41 years after I left home, I was driving past the old neighborhood and noticed there was a garage sale taking place at my parent’s old house. I figured it was a great opportunity to talk to the current owners and tell them I once lived there as a child.
Two women were working the sale when I stopped and asked if one of them was the owner of the house. One lady answered saying that she and her husband and three children lived there.
I immediately told her my connection to the house and I was met with the warmest reception. She was so excited to hear about the house and its original owners and immediately invited me to go inside.
I followed her through the familiar entryway. The den was being used as a dining room and walls had been removed and an entire new family room added on to the back of the house.
Though things had definitely changed since I lived in the house there were many things that I recognized, from the brick fireplace to the parquet floors.
As we continued to tour the house the next room I was shown was my old bedroom. Though the wallpaper had long since been removed, the room was still pink in color and it was now the bedroom of their eight-year-old daughter.
I told the little girl that the room had been mine when I was just her age. I told her about how I used to line my stuffed animals up in the window box just as she had done. I then asked her if she had every found any loose tiles in the floor.
Her face lit up with a look of recognition and she replied she had. She then asked if I was the “girl” who had written the note.
Then the most amazing thing. She walked across her room and opened her jewelry box and pulled out a small, yellowed piece of paper and handed it to me.
I opened it and there were my words: “Today is my wedding day, I am leaving this house of my childhood for the last time. August 1, 1969."
[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. PLEASE read instructions for submitting.]