Remodeling Myself

I motored past the town in which I was born along the by-pass that was built long after I left town with my mother, sister, and brother. Everything I had ever known was in that town; all my memories were anchored in the place where I spent my unfinished childhood.

I think about the reckless abandon that carried me through each day. I had my parents, my siblings. My uncle took Sis and I to all the major celebrations held by the Elks Club where he was a member. We would get all dressed up in our swiss dotted pinafores with our tafeta petticoats that made the ruffled skirt flare out. I can still hear the rustle of my dress as I turned and spun my three year old self before the mirror. I had a sweater that matched my dress and hanky folded in my sleeve. (All big girls needed a hanky in their sleeve in case they had to blow their noses.)

I looked towards town and saw Park Hill where I rode my bike down a super steep hill that had a barbed wire fence at the bottom. I haven’t seen that hill in over 40 years and the true height of our version of the xtreme bike path remains a mystery. And that’s the way I want it.

I stood before the house that was built by my father. I was under one year of age and loved to sit in an apricot crate watching him pound nails. I don’t know how long it took to build, but the memories of that house are so prescious to me…It’s where we lived when we are all still together, still a family.

Maple House

Driving by it as an adult I realize how diminutive that house actually was. How strange…the difference between perspective as a child versus that of an adult. I heard the people that bought the house when my parents divorced 43 years ago have now passed and it passed to one of their children. They completely gutting the house and remodeling. But the structure, the framing, the roof, and the foundation are still there, much like myself today. And I realize that I carry such incredibly happy memories somewhere deep inside me. And I also realize that though my family fell apart when I was nine years old, and my father died when I was 36 years old, I am that same child I was before Dad left. My foundation is strong, my structure stands tall, my roof is worn with age. I may have remodeled myself through the years but I still carry all I was as a child…I just added to it to become a grown up version of myself.

5 responses

  1. i love your description of your child self here – i too can hear the rustling! I remember going back and revisiting my childhood home and being shocked at how small it looked – not how I remembered it at all of course. I am smiling broadly at your being the same child … having grown with a strong foundation, the roof worn with age 🙂 – wonderful!

  2. I too know the mystery of returning and finding how proportions have changed completely. This is the foundation of rich work Sally.

  3. What a great metaphor: the house and self!

  4. It is something to revisit the places that played a part in us becoming who we are and see how spatial relations have changed.

  5. My sister now lives in the home where I grew up. I watch my inner feelings when I revisit and she has changed something – which she has every right to – but the inner child wants there to be at least one place in the world unchanged.

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