Monday, July 14, 2008
Why We Blog
Well, there are about 99 good reasons to blog, and then there are a few that are more of the OCD, trying to avoid cleaning bathrooms, etc. and we just won't discuss those few. But one of The Best is the connections we make, this side of heaven. Melanie, over at Big Mama, knew I had a deep yearning to see two of the homes we lived in growing up, not because they were palaces but rather because they weren't. Probably something many of you can connect with - isn't it just a deep down, warm, fuzzy feeling to remember a house as big and grand and perfect in every way and then you see a current photo and realize it was little, and at best modest, and you wonder how on earth your parents were able to stand having that many hooligans contained within it's walls, but that's the stuff memories are made up of.

We moved something like 24 times by the time I was 15. That's more than once a year. There were a few homes that we lived in for a bit longer, and some even ran into two or three years and they became 'home' to me. Melanie was in Beaumont, Texas this past weekend, (1500 miles away from me) and out of the blue surprised me, my sister and my mom by asking us if we knew the addresses to these two old places, and she'd try to find them and photograph them.

She'd drive around in the July Texas heat looking for old houses and taking their photos, for three people she's never met.

It should not surprise me a bit that she found both. That is one determined girl. And apparently one who has a high tolerance for smothering heat and humidity. I'm guessing she looked lovely the entire time she was busy with this too and that commercial, "don't hate me because I'm beautiful" comes to mind, in the nicest sort of way. I can just imagine her climbing in and out of the car, with the heat hitting her, and then her powdering her nose to remove the 'glisten' because we all know beautiful women don't 'sweat'.

This is 7170 Click Drive, and somehow, 35 years later I still remember the address to it. The layout of the streets, the neighborhood name, and the fact that my brothers swam in the canal at the end of the street, in spite of the fact that everyone knew there were alligators in there, and they'd come home and get a whuppin' for doing so, but said it was still worth it to beat the blasted Texas heat. I learned to roller skate on that driveway. My playhouse was in the laundry room at the end of the carport. I could tell you the layout of that house perfectly to this day. There were tall pine trees in the back yard, and clotheslines where Mama let us use her freshly washed sheets to make forts and I was at least 30 before I understood the sacrifice involved in that, considering the laundry six kids had to make. I even still remember the phone number, TW2-8816 and the single phone in the house was black, with rotary dial numbers and sat in a little built in alcove in the hall where Daddy and everyone else could hear every single word you said. Conversations were generally pretty short.

This side yard is dear to me because an older couple lived just beyond that big tree. They had a little dachtsund, which we called a 'weenie dog' and they'd hire me to babysit him sometimes when they ran to the store, which I now understand was a sacrifice on their part, and a nice way to send some candy money my way, and they probably knew the minute they drove off I snoop all through their house, because I did. I mean, they had a window AC unit and that meant they were rich and I had to know how the rich lived, which is no different than reading People Magazine today. Which I don't, but I did snoop all through their house. I also thought they were rich because they each had their own bedroom, and now I know it means he snored, but I didn't know that back then. Nobody in our house had their own room. My four brothers shared a room, with two sets of bunks, so I thought it amazing some people put only one person in a room all by themselves. That had to mean you were rich, right?

We lived through two hurricanes in this house, and I remember rowing around the front yard in a row boat, looking down and seeing electric eels swimming in the yard. When you're a little girl you tend to think that is very cool, in a scary sort of way. Patricia and I made clover necklaces while laying on a blanket in that front yard, the entire neighbhorhood played tag many nights with that tree as home base. We caught fire flies in glass jars and after we'd jab the lids with the ice pick, we'd take them inside and set them on our nightstand to watch til we fell asleep. The Erwins lived across the street and we automatically liked them because they had seven kids and that meant their momma had to go upfront at the little Baptist church down the road, every single Mother's Day, for having the most kids, and our momma seemed very pleased that she didn't. The Erwin's Daddy smoked and played the electric guitar in the back bedroom amidst piles of laundry, and I found that all very exotic. My Daddy was a mailman, and played the harmonica and hated cigarettes. So Mr. Erwin was very interesting.

My brother was a paperboy in this neighborhood and Peppi the big dog lived at the end of the street. He bit Gary's leg wide open one day delivering papers, so I stayed away from their house from thereon, and still am a bit afraid of other people's big dogs. Danny Bacon lived at the end of our street - my first kiss. I danced and sang "Day Dream Believer" one street over with Pam and Patricia and Rose. It doesn't look like much, but I'm awfully fond of this little house, and it even touches my heart to see a car in the driveway, to know people are still living there and making their own memories.

And everything that the word 'home' conjures up in a mind is somehow tied up to this little grey house.

It used to be white. I don't know the exact address, but it's THE HOUSE ON EMILE. In my mind it's always been called that. My brothers and I played under that house. We picked pecans off the lawn for mama to make pecan pies. I played on that porch during downpours. The steps seemed so long back then. My sister and I played dolls in the sideyard you can barely see, and the woman who lived just beyond us quit giving my sister piano lessons when she learned our mama had tuberculosis, for fear of the germs. I was just sure this house had been torn down from termites or age, or both. That it still stands amazes me. That Melanie took all that time, that she even thought to offer, to go find it and take the photo -

That's one of the best reasons for why I blog. It's about connections, and people and seeing their amazing hearts, when they're just doing what comes to their mind. Thank you Melanie for starting my day off with happy tears. I owe you an iced latte for starters and a big hug when we meet, either side of heaven.


  posted at 8:27 AM

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    Girl Raised in the South

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