Monday, April 9, 2012

Home

The Handy Man's parents still live in the house they bought when he was in kindergarten. Each room holds memories for him. The basement where he helped paint his mother's freezer.  The backyard is where he played and ran from the torments of his older brothers. He can name the families that live in the houses up and down the street.  If we went to church with my in-laws, there would be many worshipers who could tell me stories about my husband and his childhood antics. They'd smile and resist the urge to pinch his cheeks. 

My family moved a lot when I was growing up. A lot. There were two very long trips between Idaho and Arizona that I remember well. Laying in the  way-back of our green station wagon, watching the sky fly by at a brisk 75 mph.  Mom packed lunches and wet washcloths in plastic bags for the long journey.  Stops at the rest area were mini adventures where we were left to explore the rocks and cactus.




The house where we lived during my junior and senior years.
Though my mom became a pro at packing and moving, we lived most of our years in two places. Mesa, Arizona and southern Idaho.  When I was 21, my parents moved to Utah and finally 'settled down'.  In the years since then, I visited Arizona several times.  I drove past old homes and the church where we attended every Sunday.  Change does strange things to memories.  It's hard to wrap my heart around the church where I was baptized when it now belongs to another religion.  One of our houses was torn down and the apartments they built don't bring up any fond images.  Change is inevitable, but because I wasn't there to be a part of it, it is foreign to me.

I didn't visit Idaho for two decades.  It's much closer than Arizona, but there wasn't much to draw me there. Our families had all moved on.  Then, one summer, I visited with my older sister and my parents. As we walked down the narrow Main street in my mother's small home town, emotions and memories flooded my heart and mind until I feared they would spill out through tears.  I lingered at the high school, peering down the hallway where, braced against the tall, gray lockers, I'd learned the sweetness of a first kiss.  There in the classrooms where I passed notes with my first love, thrilling at the words he penned just for me.  We saw the football field where I discovered that I could dance, where I got my first shot of confidence as I cheered our team in my short, orange skirt.
The Snake River- Rupert, Idaho
Later, we went across the river, just as we'd done so many times before. Our home there seemed so small and I wondered how my mother felt as she'd moved her six children into it's cramped rooms.  The dairy where my father worked is no longer there, but the surroundings haven't changed. (The smell is better.)  I took long walks along the fields of alfalfa, onions and sugar beets, proud that I can still recognize the crops.  I paused at the homes of my best friends, where we spent days riding horses and nights discussing boys.

In Idaho I discovered my roots.  Not just because I was born there, but because of the memories that hold me fast to the land.  The river which brought me peace as a troubled teen still stirred feelings of content.  The water moved quickly, but was smooth and calm.  I could smell the sage growing on its banks and hear the catfish as they jumped in the water. The mountains on the skyline turned purple in the evening light.  All of my senses soaked in the feelings that literally vibrated the air around me.  This is my home.  I do not live here. I never will again. But, the land has an imprint of my soul.  It may lay dormant while I am away, but awakens every time I'm near.  It calls to me, beckons me.  We are attached to one another.  My roots here grow deep.  Which is how it should be.  At home.

(This post was written for the AtoZ Challenge and also for the GBE 2: Blog On prompt- Home.)

24 comments:

  1. I grew up in Anaheim, CA. I went to take my children to see the house where I grew up - - it had been torn down to widen the freeway. Kind of sad, but not really. It wasn't my home anymore. I have memories of where I grew up but I don't feel defined by them, if that makes sense

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    1. It does make sense. I didn't feel as attached to the house as much as the area around it. Maybe because it has changed so little.

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  2. I had no idea. I mean, when I started checking out blogs for this A-Z challenge, I had no idea that someone had actually written a blog about ME! How kind of you. (Yup, "frazzled and frumpy" ... that's ME!)

    It's been said that you can never go home again. I think what they mean is you can return to the physical place, but once you move away, its essence will never again be the same for you. Your memory of it remains frozen in time, but time itself moves on. Visiting our old home town in Maryland is eerie for me. So many things the same, but so many more, different. Plus my parents, my aunts and uncles, some of my cousins and friends, they've all died, so when we drive down the old familiar streets, I'm haunted by their memories and miss them all over again. But the place itself will never again be the same for me.

    Happy A-Zing. Count me in as your newest follower. (How could I NOT? After all, you DID name your blog after me ...)

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    1. I've come to realize that I'm not the only one who feels 'frazzled and frumpy'. Glad you finally found 'your' blog.
      I've tried to explain to my kids how I feel about where I grew up, but it's hard to capture that essence again.

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  3. I know exactly what you mean. I was born in Mexico city, I spent two of the best years of my life in Spain, and now I live in Ct. I have pieces of my heart all over the globe and they cry out for me. It can be a smell, a picture, a book, something that will trigger my memory and my heart will bleed for a few days for those places I can't visit right now but that still hold hard to my soul.

    Beautiful post.
    From Diary of a Writer in Progress

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    1. Those memories can be so strong. I smelled a burning field yesterday and that took me right back home.

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  4. A Maricopa county gal, eh? I had a friend who owned a pizza shop there but haven't heard from him in years. Nice area.

    Memories are tricky. They can play on ones emotions like Charlie Daniels on a fiddle, evoking tears of joy or pain. Too, when accompanied by music they can exacerbate the fragile emotions.

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    1. True. If I'd heard Journey's 'Open Arms' while visiting my high school, I might have collapsed.

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  5. Hi...I'm hopping over from the A to Z challenge. Lovely blog...good luck with the challenge!

    Donna L Martin
    www.donasdays.blogspot.com

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  6. This is a lovely post. I grew up in one small city, but I've never felt rooted there. I'm rooted to my parents, and will therefore return to my city once or twice every year, but if my family left, then I would never go back. Now I'm married to a military man. We never put down roots, since we never stay anywhere more than 3 or 4 years. Sometimes I wonder if I'm just not a rooting kind of girl!

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    1. Some people aren't. I didn't think I was till we moved to where we live now. I can't imagine living anywhere else.

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  7. I really loved this. We moved around so much when I was a kid, but I've always been physically connected to the area where both sets of my grandparents lived since it was the one place that remained constant throughout my growing up. I now live about 20 mins from there. I was also just thinking last night about the last time I visited New Hampshire (where I lived for 2 1/2 years during high school), the air smelled so different than it does here and just breathing it in was like being in some kind of time machine. But, like you said, so much can change--the school was bigger, some of the familiar stores had gone out of business, etc, etc. It's always thought-provoking to go back, I think.

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    1. That place in southern Idaho is where both sets of my grandparents lived, so I can relate to that.

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  8. Wonderful memoir! I'm trying to visit all the A-Z Challenge Blogs this month.

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    1. All of them? That's a huge undertaking. Good luck!

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  9. Idaho sounds like a peaceful place. Love the pictures you shared.
    Happy A-Zing!
    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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    1. It is peaceful, for a visit. Living there would be a bit boring, though.

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  10. Although I was born in Houston, Texas...my parents moved us to Taylorsville, Utah when I was 4 years old. I grew up in that house and my parents still live there to this day. They are starting to very seriously consider moving to a new house now that they are empty-nesters and are in their mid-60's. They want a rambler with everything on the same level and less stairs to climb as they get older. They want a bigger family room to congregate in when we have family gatherings but less bedrooms. And though I haven't lived in that house for almost 19 years now, I have to admit I think I'm going to have a ridiculously hard time when they leave it!

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    1. That's what my parents need to do. Their house is much too small for all of us to gather in. They've lived there 20-some years, but I don't have any sentiment for that house since I was grown when they bought it.

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  11. I really related to this post. I enjoyed it but related as well - I grew up a daughter of the military and by age 10 I'd lived in more foreign countries than I had US states.

    Your post reminded me that home is a place that imprints your heart and soul not just where you live or lived.

    *~ MAJK ~*
    Twitter @safireblade
    A to Z Blog Challenge

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    1. I'm learning that home can mean such a variety of things.

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  12. What a lovely post. Home for me is the house in Austin where we moved when I was two and I lived until I grew up. My sister and I drove past it once a few years ago and the nice young mom who lived there let us look inside. Walls had been torn down, new ones put up. Very depressing.

    Stopping by from the Challenge. Hope you'll visit me, too.

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    1. I'm sure if I'd gone in the house, it would've been much different.

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