CONVERSATION WITH…A House…Remembering Its Past

When you’re traveling Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road, it’s a good idea to keep looking up. You never know if a cyclone carrying a house will crash land in front of you. This actually happened to me.   The small country house I lived in every summer when I was a little girl fell from the sky.  I had to ask if it remembered me!

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Uh—summerhouse? Do you remember–

SUMMERHOUSE: Cathi!

Yes!  It’s meeee!  How did you know?  I haven’t seen you since I was nine. 

SUMMERHOUSE:  I remember you…

little cathi

SUMMERHOUSE: Your eyes and smile are the same.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

SUMMERHOUSE: How did you recognize ME with my makeover?  When you lived in me, I had white, shabby shingles and dark green trim around my windows.  And there was a screen on my front door and I had a screened in porch.  Now I’m yellow, I got a roof lift and–

I see you had some work done.   But your structure and lines are the same. I knew it was you.  You look amazing!

SUMMERHOUSE: Thank you. But I must say…even though I look younger on the outside, I can’t escape knowing I’m still older on the inside.

I know the feeling.

SUMMERHOUSE: Why did your family stop coming to live in me so abruptly?  All of sudden, I never saw you again!  It has been fifty-four years!

I know. There was a terrible tragedy in my family.  My mother, grandmother and grandfather died in a car accident.  My father remarried and we moved to the suburbs.

SUMMEROUSE: Oh my dear! I’m so very, very sorry.  Of all the families I’ve had inside me, yours was the most fun loving.

Thank you. So many beautiful memories are here…

SUMMERHOUSE: Yes….I remember when you lived here, early every morning, you’d sneak into your grandma’s bed–

Oh yeah! I snuggled up with her and we sang songs she knew when she was a little girl!  And when everyone in the family woke up, we ate breakfast–

SUMMERHOUSE: In my kitchen!  Around my big table–

And my mom made warm cinnamon buns with vanilla icing!   And then my sister and I played with paper dolls for hours and hours and hours–

SUMMERHOUSE: In my den—

Yes!  We cut out all the dresses in the booklet, put them on the dolls, and imagined they were going to parties.  And then we made the dolls houses, and made their beds out of towels–

SUMMERHOUSE: From my linen closet–

Right! Then my dad gave us piggy back rides–

SUMMERHOUSE: All around my yard!  But you had to remember to duck when you went under my cherry tree.

Ha ha!  Yes! Then we ate lunch—

SUMMEROUSE: In my screened in porch.  You were afraid of the bees that came in, but you never got stung.

And after lunch, I went on the swings—

SUMMERHOUSE: In my back yard.  You went higher and higher–

I was daydreaming!  And then!  Remember my sister and I fed the cows apples?

SUMMERHOUSE Of course!  Because a dairy farm was next to my fence.  The cows used to poke their heads through.

And after dinner, my sister and I built make believe neighborhoods–

SUMMERHOUSE: On my gravel driveway!  I remember you piled my gravel so high, no one could get out of the garage.

Ha ha! And when it started to get dark, I sat next to my grandma—

SUMMERHOUSE: On my little front porch—

And we smelled the honeysuckles, and watched the fireflies come out.

SUMMERHOUSE: Those were most special times…

Yes! Oh!  How I wish I could fling your front screen door open again and run inside and play the way I used to!

SUMMERHOUSE: I wish you could, too!   But… you’ve probably noticed…my screen door isn’t there anymore.  Now it’s a wooden door with a glass panel.  And my kitchen table is gone.  I have an island with stools around it.

That seems to be what people like today. What happened to your screened in porch?

SUMMERHOUSE: Over time, there were too many holes in it.  A builder tore it down and made it into a bedroom. And my gravel driveway is covered with tar.

What about the dairy farm next door?

SUMMERHOUSE: Now it’s a horse ranch. The cows behind my fence are gone. And my cherry tree fell to the ground during a terrible storm years ago.

Oooh…How very strange life is…

SUMMERHOUSE: How very, very strange…

How is it possible that the home where I felt so safe and free isn’t mine anymore?  How can it belong to another family?

SUMMERHOUSE: I guess it’s the way of things.

You know, I’m traveling Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road to figure out where I belong in the world.  But now… I feel more lost than ever.

SUMMERHOUSE: Maybe all your memories here have helped you become the person you are today.  What do you do?

I’m writer for children.

SUMMERHOUSE: Oh!  A writer!  How wonderful!  I’m so proud! And I think then you are still very much needed in the world today.

Where do you see me belonging?

SUMMERHOUSE: I believe you belong to the world of stories. You’re meant to go on writing about new places and new things for as long as you’re here.  And you and I will always belong to each other. I will belong in your past, and you will belong in mine.

You know, if I didn’t know you were a house, I’d think you were the Wizard of Oz.

SUMMERHOUSE: And If I only had a mouth, I would smile.

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At that very moment, the house had to excuse itself. It felt someone scribbling on its bedroom wall.  The new little girl living inside was probably up to no good. So, as I left the house behind, I thought about where I’d like to go next and share a story.  I closed my eyes, clicked my heels together and recited to myself, “There’s no place like Rome.  There’s no place like Rome.”

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19 thoughts on “CONVERSATION WITH…A House…Remembering Its Past

  1. Dear Summerhouse,
    I used to live inside you too!!!! Do you remember me? I know you must. I also know you must be MUCH older than me or Cathi. I was the one who used to sneak behind the garbage to investigate the old OUT HOUSE that was deteriorating in the bushes back there. You are so old, you had families living in you without any PLUMBING!!!

    Yes, whether Cathi realizes it or not, she went on to a life well lived. A loving family, two happy kids, a good marriage and writing stories for kids and adults alike for years and years and years. But, you and I Summerhouse, we both are not surprised. You and I both recall when our grandma dug us a little round garden, maybe three feet across. Then off we went to the hardware store to pick out our very own seeds to plant. I picked out lima beans. But Cathi picked out WATERMELONS!

    Like

  2. Loved reading how you went down memory lane with your beach house. So sorry to hear about the loss of your mother and grandparents. Just heart wrenching. I want to read more of your stories on the yellow brick road!

    Like

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