A Thin Slice of the Past

26 Oct

The day after the kayaking trip/news extravaganza I got to take a tour through part of my childhood. My maternal grandmother used to live on the banks of a creek in my hometown. The house sat just off the road on a wooded lot beside one of the larger creeks in the area. It was a fantastic place at which to grow up and I was sad to see her sell it a few years back. Thankfully, she has remained close friends with the couple who purchased the home and they were willing to let our family stop by for a quick tour of the house and property.

It was thrilling. I imagine that it would compare to the sensation one would feel if they were to wake up from a dream to realize that the dream was reality.  (If only that were possible.) I don’t know how many times I’ve dreamed of the memories I made there as a child.  I’ve literally had adventures at that house in my dreams.  The upstairs attic was one of the more magical settings for me.

Together with my children, mother, grandmother, cousin, husband and sister we took a tour of our past.

The best part of the visit was realizing that the house had not changed in the least. It was exactly the same right down to the goose-print, lace curtains in the kitchen. I must confess that it made me a little misty eyed to see those curtains still framing the bay window overlooking the creek. It was such a tangible part of my childhood, one that I never thought that I would experience again.

My grandparents had planned and built the house together. To think that the house had stood the test of time as well as two major floods was awe-inspiring. You could see them everywhere you looked. My grandmother in the wallpaper and curtains, my grandfather in the work shop and it’s custom-made shutters. Sadly my grandfather passed away when I was just four.

The only part of our visit that rivaled those memories was seeing my children running about the yard, playing the same games that I had played just twenty years ago. I am glad to know that they got a chance to experience that place, even though it was just for an hour. Some of the landscape had changed due to the floods; the strawberry patch on the side of the house was gone along with a peer that used to jut out across the creek. However, other memorable attributes remained the same. Like the wagon wheel that hung suspended on a beam by the creek. It was one of the last things my grandfather did around the yard before passing away.

As well as the secret room that wrapped around the upper part of the chimney stack.  Oh the fun and mischief that was had in that room.  My cousins and I would have to suck in our chests as much as possible and squeeze squint-eyed past the brick stack.  On the other side lay a tiny room with a window looking out over the front lawn.  It was our room.  The adults were too big to squeeze their way in and it made us heady with the thrill of it.  How many children could claim ownership of an adult-free room?  None that we knew and it made us feel grand.

After running about the property and along the creek in a giddy frenzy, we finally slowed down to say our goodbyes.  We thanked to the gentleman who was kind enough to invite us in and took one last look the house. His generosity had made my first trip back home extra special. I would have never guessed that I would get to drive back to Oklahoma with fresh memories to match my childhood.

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