A Family Affair

Why is it that no matter how old we become, the moment we return home to the house in which we grew up, it is as though time stands still?  I am (cough) 37 and it never fails to amaze me.  True, I have reached the point where I can get in the car and do as I please when I return home and I am well past the need for a curfew, but each time I come home; it as though I am transported to my teen years and time has stood still.  Why is that?

I came home for a day today to see my parents prior to the hub-bub of the Holiday season to find my hometown little changed.  The streets look the same, similar people working local businesses, SHOP LOCAL!, the smell and the feel is the same.  Most of the time I would welcome this commonplace venture as so many other situations change with the speed of a sneeze.  Today, I felt…..stunted.  I wanted more.

I came to the house where I grew up and the scents have not changed nor has the look since they remodeled when my older sibling graduated high school…..in 1989~  I want more for this homestead plot.  I must say though that the expanse of lake never fails to captivate me.  I love it and miss it something fierce.  I will venture out on the frozen water tomorrow before I head for my home.  Tonight I gazed out on the ice and watched the sunset for a moment.  Ah. the pinks and purples…the rifts pushing toward shore. suspended in a moment.  My mother told me the that she could hear it singing as she walked outside a couple nights ago.  I remember being a little girl and opening the window of my bedroom so that I could hear the ice pop and crack as it settled for its dreamtime.  There were moments that I could hear it moan from one end of the lake to another…i wondered what the fish below the surface heard.  Did they hear it as I did?  Could they feel the vibrations as life for them slowed down for the winter?  I loved those nights…I loved the sound of the lake.  In the summer I would hear as the wind careened the surface or an impending storm rattled the waves.  In the early morning I could hear the fish jump and I imagined their families getting ready to send the tadpoles to “school”.  I smile even now as I think of it.

I listen now as my two sons engage in goofy antics with grandma in my old bedroom.  Little do they know the dreams and secrets held within those walls.  The closet is still asunder from when my father tried to burn the house down by stoking the wood burner too high and the fire dept had to bust through my closet to make sure the fire was out properly.  I was sure that I would wake in the middle of the night with my room engulfed in flame.  It never did.  How many books were read, papers written, tears cried over broken hearts of adolescence.  I wonder if the energy from that room is still there?  Can they feel it?  My mother sleeps in that space now, and I sleep in another spot when I visit.  The room does not feel the same to me, I do not feel me in it.  In many ways I have moved on, and so has my spirit in that room.

I think I wanted to know I was still there and yet there remains a certain assurance that moving on is right and proper.  The town feels small to me now, it was once such a mecca of bustle.  I worked the local grocery store all through high school and much of college and it has succumbed to the flooding of the area and is no longer in business.  This saddens me as I think of all the hours and conversations I had there.  My first foray into the working world happened there and much of who I am was shaped by my employers.  I learned about hard work and following through and management, time and people.  I think back to this time so many years ago when my job was to use the shrink wrap blower and fashion fruit and gift baskets in the backroom.  I loved that!  Hy-vee had nothing on my creations!  Let me loose with a cart, some baskets, imagination, and….the blower gun!!!!! Such fun.

That time is over, I have moved on.  I posted on my facebook that I was home for a day or 2 and asked if anyone wanted to play.  I would be lying if I said I was not disappointed that no one responded…albeit short notice and the holiday.  There remains some disappointment.  Would I have sat down with a pal or 2 from the past and a good glass of wine?  Sure.  In fact, tonight was the first night either of my parents saw me drink alcohol as I opened a bottle of my father’s wine.  I felt weird about it at first…then thought…huh?  I am (cough) still 37 and can have a glass of wine anytime I wish.  So, I poured a small swallow or 2….in a plastic sponge bob cup.

Hm.  The more things change the more they stay the same.

Thanks for checking in tonight…just some thoughts….feeling nostalgic?  Possibly.




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