Tuesday, February 21, 2017

My Childhood Home

Do you remember your childhood home? If you're like me, you may remember a huge home with a ginormous tree out front, but when we go back to that childhood home, we realize it's only about 1,000 square feet and that huge tree in the front yard is just a scrawny tree. We had a childhood mind back then and what might have been less-than-impressive in someone else's mind, was extremely impressive in our eyes.

My childhood home was located just north of Dallas Love Field Airport and the final flight path of those jets was right over our house. People who visited us wondered how we could tolerate those loud jet engines, not to mention the shaking that house went through, but we didn't give it a second thought. It was our beloved home. I remember the screened-in back porch with a wooden swing that we would sit in and listen to 45 rpm records on my record player back there. I remember the huge mimosa tree in our front yard that I'd take off the bean pods and empty them into a sauce pan and pretend I was making soup. I remember my mom hanging the wash to dry on her clothes line in the back yard. I remember the back yard when my friend and I thought we should dig a swimming pool only to my disappointment that my mom and dad were not impressed by the six feet by 6 feet by 6 inch mud hole that we had dug. I remember the side door that people would come directly into the kitchen where my mom was frying up her famous fried chicken and chicken fried steak.

I guess being back in Texas is making me reminisce about the "good old days" because as I was driving back to Dallas from Austin yesterday, I was inspired to take a little detour to see my childhood home and my stomping grounds -- the long walk I had to my grade school and junior high school. I was amazed that I remembered the exact house number and street address. I assure you, there was very little that looked the same. The street that I remembered as nice sized homes, are actually very small homes, and our home that was a sweet white framed (in the photo here with my boy friend, later my husband) is now bricked and very in disrepair. The mimosa tree is no where to be found. Even though it didn't look anything like I remembered on the outside, I remembered precious family gatherings in that home, birthday parties, Christmas -- where my older brother revealed "the truth about Santa Claus" to me, where I learned to ride a bike. My fantasy was that I could knock on the door of the once immaculate row house, explain my history and all the sweet memories to the owner and he'd invite me in for a tour, but I'll be honest with you, from the appearance of the house, I was quite concerned for what could be lurking inside there, so I changed my mind.

Remember Tom Jones' song "It's good to touch the green, green, grass of home?" NOT!! My childhood mind saw things so very differently.

But, all of this little walk down memory lane was about wood, brick and mortar. It was about what was in a child's eyes, but as I reflected on this little adventure, I realized it wasn't the house or street at all. It was about the people who lived there. It was about the daddy who did such a good job providing for us until the day he became so sick with a brain tumor. It was about the mommy who became a warrior in faith and trust in God for making ends meet, for being an incredible role model to the wide-eyed wonder of her little girl and how she protected me through it all. It was about my first chaperoned date with this handsome young man standing on the porch of that home. It was about my first baby-sitting job for the doctor and his wife who lived across the street from us and how I learned responsibility and realized how much I loved children. It was about walking to school (which, in reality was less than a block away, but at the time seemed like blocks) that taught me even more responsibility. It was about the lessons I learned in that school that is with me today. It was about the dear neighbors we had that helped us when my dad was so sick.

At the end of yesterday, I realized that it was eye opening to renew memories about who we were and where I came from. I returned to the place where my values were established and where important life lessons were learned. I took delight in remembering neighbors, the chats on our back porch, laughing at some of the childish things I did, remembering watching Captain Kangaroo on my bedroom tv, remembering the long telephone conversations my boy friend and I had, and remembering my sweet dog Taffy in that back yard. There were also some unpleasant memories I had on my little journey yesterday, but even the unpleasant made me realize that they were a part of the Master Plan that God had for me, even back then. All of those memories were scenes from my story -- but they were NOT the story.

The story is my faith that grew, the victories I won because of the strength I found in trusting in He who brought me safely through to today. How sweet the memories! How sweet the journey that made me so grateful to look back "when" and today, to press on to the REAL green, green grass of HOME SWEET HOME.