Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Sentiment And Reality

Back in October, I wrote a post about the houses in my life that have evoked special memories for me (if you want to look back and read it to fully understand today's topic, just click on October 2008 on this page). Last night, our daughter brought one of those houses into the present for me.

Dawn just returned from a nostalgic journey of her own. She spent four days in Orlando, renewing friendships and visiting sites that played a large part in her growing up years. Her express purpose for going there was a reunion of her old elementary school. The building where she spent six happy learning years is being torn down and the powers that be there decided to invite alums and faculty for a last look and a chance to reconnect. That was emotional enough for her, but even more so, she shed tears at the sight of our old house, which is just outside the school gates.

She called me Saturday, obviously sentimental. "Oh, mom, it looks beautiful! The people who live there have kept it looking the same. They've just added things to it that you and Dad always wanted to. " My cell phone soon dinged with the arrival of camera phone pix, sharing her emotional views. It was difficult, on the tiny screen, to see details, but I was immediately transported back to the 18 years we had lived there, and all that meant. When she flew home last night, she couldn't wait to put her additional photos up on our computer screen to fully detail every angle of that house and its landscape. Seeing them, I had to choke back tears of my own.

Ivy covers the garage walls now; I remember when we planted that first ivy plant, struggling to get it to attach. A new picket fence has replaced the one we built ourselves and spent hours painting, and the trees in the backyard, which were hardly taller than me when we moved, now shade the entire yard from a towering height.

I was struck by how those images made me happy and thankful; there is a part of our family history that exists for me to return to. In this era of teardowns in suburbia being the rule rather than the exception, I have often wondered if those walls had been sacrificed for some mistaken idea of progress. I can't tell you how glad I am that they haven't been. The inside, I know, would probably not resemble what it did when we lived there. Each subsequent owner has altered that to fit their own lifestyle. But to see that exterior, lovingly cared for as we had created it so many years ago speaks to my sense of historical order somehow, if that makes sense. It's that realization that our treasured abode is still there and creating memories for its current occupants that will mmic ours, in a way. That reality deserves some sentimental words.

NOTE: I apologize for being absent in my musings this past month; personal responsibilities prevented entries. I think I'm back on track again. Stay with me!

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