Yesterday, the sale on my childhood home closed. the little brown rambler at the end of the cul-de-sac no longer belongs to my family. I lost my first tooth in that house, kissed my first boy on that porch, parked my first car in that driveway, and learned how to swim in the pool in that backyard. It is simply a great house, and although I am melancholy at letting it go, I am happy it will continue to be full of life.
A few years ago, I took a writing course and in that class I was required to describe the home I grew up in. So, thank you little brown rambler for keeping my family safe and warm all these years. I will miss you.
The forty-two-year-old linoleum in the entry way is beige (but perhaps it used to be white). It has a chocolate-brown scroll design that looks vaguely Greek, like a pattern one might find etched into marble somewhere in Europe; only here in the 1960s rambler it is dated and odd. Does anyone still build houses with linoleum entry ways? The wooden baseboards are chipped where the vacuum cleaner has crashed into them a thousand times. As I round the corner into the family room, I can see the kitchen with its cream paint and oak cabinets, a bit sticky-looking from decades of chicken-fried steak and burnt cookies. I can feel the draft that always comes from the small chip in the kitchen window. Odd how such a small hole can let in so much cold air. Through the dining room with the popcorn ceiling. The dining room chairs with the splintered wooden legs that had been gnawed on by one of the puppies. Down the stairs into the rec-room I can smell the burnt logs from a thousand fires in the wood stove. The TV, so dated it is not rectangular, but square. The sofa, a concave mess of navy plaid, yet still so comfortable and warm. A cozy place still equipped with a VCR. My bedroom last, a yellow puff of girly dreams. White canopy bed with rainbow curtains. The closet and dresser are empty which seems shocking, the void depressing and unsettling. I don’t live here, haven’t lived here in over twenty years. Still, my empty closet sends me to tears.