My sister and I shared that room for seven years. Over the years Dad built a playhouse for us in the back yard. Mom cut up an old pillow case to make a curtain. We dragged our dolls outside and played for hours inside of our beloved little playhouse. Another year, he built a sandbox, but we used it as a raft for our imaginary adventures in the Amazon Rainforest. My sister and I played Barbies for hours in the basement. Dad lost his job when I was in third grade and I worried about losing the house. I heard them talking about the bills. I didn’t know how to help. Not our house! He found a job a few weeks later and all was well again in our home. When I turned 14, Dad finished the bedroom in the basement for me. I got my own room with a HUGE walk-in closet. Mom painted the ceiling blue “because the sky is blue. It will be like you are looking at the sky.” She knew how I loved to daydream. When I was nineteen, I left that little house on Brandon Hill and married my soldier. We moved to Fort Riley, Kansas. We went “home” a lot. Every block leave was spent “going home” to the house.
When we moved to Fort Knox, Kentucky, we bought our own home. A few years later, we had our first baby. Over those years, we changed “going home for the holidays” to “going to Atlanta for the holidays.” My sister moved out and got married. There were not anymore children in the little house on Brandon Hill.
When I visited, I often sat on the window seat in my parents’ bedroom and talked to Mom while she sat in bed. We still sat at our seats at holiday dinners—husbands and grandkids had to find chairs to pull up to the table. The kitchen had the same wallpaper. They even kept the same furniture from when they first married until a few years ago when they bought a new couch. They remodeled the bathroom and had a bigger deck built, but the “nest” was empty.
A few months ago, my mom called me with super exciting news: they found a house. They were going to buy THE retirement home. The little house would go up for sale after 26 years. I was so excited for them, but deep inside, I felt sad. I wouldn’t go home to the little house anymore. Someone else would buy it and make memories.
I drove to Atlanta to see the new house. It was lovely. The new house is perfect for them—for this new chapter in their lives. It is on a lake so Dad can fish all evening. Mom loves the covered porch. The grandkids have their own bedroom. I never saw the little house empty. I decided I cannot drive by it yet. I’m not ready. I’m not ready to see another car in the driveway. I don’t know how I might feel if the outside is changed. I still have many happy memories of my childhood home. Now we go to Nanny’s and Pappy’s house.