Today I went back inside this picture for a few minutes.
"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange."
-- Rainer Maria Rilke
I have many dreams about the homes I have lived in.
In dreams the architecture and design is far more exaggerated and fetching. But they are my homes I lived in. Often I am in the process of welcoming someone else to live there and and ushering my self to move on. You can all message me your take on that.
Although I have lived in 5 homes. 2 as a child growing up. Houses occupy a lot of my dreams.
Sometimes I am walking in a bright positive space. Sometimes I am closing a dark door I am afraid to go in.
When I was 3 I vividly remember my parents saying "We're moving houses".
I took this very literally (as I often still tend to do). By that my vision was that we were going to be moving the house we currently lived in, by pushing it in either direction a few feet closer to our neighbors homes. I was not excited. Yawn. But when my brain finally fired up I was very excited about our new adventure!! I still dream about that first home in detail as well...but this story is more about where I spent the next 30 years of my life in and out.
11714 Interlaaken Drive SW Tacoma WA 98498
Almost an acre. A rambler. A backyard that we terraced. A huge hill full of blackberry thickets & mosquitoes. A pasture on the other side where many horses grazed. We had our front yard. We fenced it when my father brought home a horse. He road the horse from our house down the streets of Lakewood to the park at Western State Hospital.
So here is a compression of the life there:
Christmas in the living room and family room listening to Johnny Mathis and Andy Williams on the turntable.
Donna Summer and Micheal Jackson Thriller dance routines with my brother and friends.
The best place in the world for the 4th of July. My dad would light a cannon and you could see the fireworks from the Weyerhaeuser's house on the lake.
My wonderful neighbors Mariko and Gary Kim who had the an amazing garden with Japanese Pears trees, a koi pond with a fountain, a greenhouse, and a karaoke room they added on. You know I wanted to bust out in that karaoke room.
There were two small cabins abandoned on another parcel of property, and I would tell my friends, "come on you gotta see this" I did a lot of trespassing. Luckily the man that owned the property was very kind. Sam Brown would be out in his barn and he would sing songs with me from "South Pacific".
My parents did not bat an eye if I wanted to grab the biggest pair of gardening sheers (Think "Mommy Dearest") and declare that my brother and I were gonna cut a path through the blackberries to the top of the hill where later had a fort for playing war.
The friendships:I had lots of slumber parties and party parties. We snuck out and met boys at the and of the long driveway.
We smoked More cigarettes and blew them out the window and somehow thought no one would smell it.
We would come home from underage parties and say "I just had a sip of cooler", " No, someone next to me was smoking all night long"
We would make mix tapes and sing in harmony to everything from the Beatles, the Bangles, Led Zeppelin, The Cure and U2.
When I came home from my first year of college, with some things to straighten up and fly right, my dad and I would sit on the back porch swing and chain smoke Marlboro lights and discuss EVERYTHING about being alive. Best therapy ever.
Clay and I got married in the front yard. On the cheap. Saved every penny, 3000. in 1999. As you can imagine I was the DJ micro-manager.
Here's the list: Earth Wind and Fire "September" , Beach Boys" God Only Knows" first dance. 'Moon River" and "What a wonderful world" walking down the aisle. "Come on Eileen", 'Bizarre Love Triangle" and conga line to Paul Simon "Late in the Evening".
My folks sold the home in 2005. Wyatt was 3 months old. Didn't really say goodbye to the house. Not even my room. I did spend several hours covering the graffiti that each person who visited my house added to the inside of my closet. My folks moved in August 2005. In November dad died the day after Thanksgiving. He was on borrowed time in many ways, though still too young. He got my mother settled and secure and I think that's when your body sometimes releases itself.
I have driven through Lakewood MANY times and drove down the driveway, looked at the house, and briskly backed it up and hightailed it out before any of the neighbors saw me.
I once had a man come to our home that was built in 1918. He drove up with his great-grandaughter, and was close to 90. He was born inside our home on the main floor bedroom and the large basement was a voting and polling station at some point in Tacoma's electoral history.
So today I decided to follow through like that kind old man, and knock on the door I unlocked for several decades.
I have only met the man who lives there once. He is a quieter, kind man. When he opened the door I said I am Rosie's daughter, Holly Burton...(insert apologies and impositions), can I come my house????
He warned me that he was a "bachelor" . Understatement. I do not say that to be catty . It is his home. But it was surreal to see his belongings in what was a true scrapbook of all the backgrounds I knew for 30 years.
All the wallpapers coloring the rooms, the very ones we put up when I was 4 or 5. The powder room had the Asian print wall I loved and the tacky plastic mirror that I brought home from college still above the sink. That was a bit of a trip.
A piano right where mine used to sit.
Then there was the hallway. We had a hallway akin to the Shining's Overlook Hotel. Without the creepy little girls coming towards me. But when I stared down it, I did feel like I was drawn into a portal. My room was the last door on the left at the end of the hall. I wanted to ask to go in there. No.
I saw the backyard one last time. There was a wild rabbit and the owners impressive vegetable garden that has tented to keep the deer out. The nature of the landscape was the best thing to take away. The interior was a bit on the run down side. Not Grey Gardens, but it was not my home anymore. So why am I writing so much about this? When I was there, I felt neutral. Only a little tinge when I yearned to walk down the hall to my room. It made me appreciate the liberty I once had to come home and run down that hallway every day. Long hallways are also great for 4th birthday somersaults, cracked heads on furniture and not crying until your mom freaks out at all the blood all over you.
It was time to go. I have already lived there.
Count yourself lucky if your parents still occupy the same home you grew up in. It gives you roots and anchors to share with your children. A hub for Christmas trees and Easter Egg hunts.
At least now I know you need not hang your whole heart on a visit to the past to be the land of Oz, Kansas,or the wardrobe that leads you to Narnia.
I am home right now.