We pulled up in the driveway of the house where I lived until I was 13 years old, got out of the car and I walked up the steps to the front door. The new paint had chipped away in places, revealing other layers, and eventually got down to the yellow paint that had been my door.
We were there to shoot some video footage for a YouTube video promoting my book that’s coming out next month. A book of stories, many that happened in that house.
After awhile a man came to the door.
I explained why we were there and he was kind enough to ask if I wanted to come in and look around.
The last time I set foot in that house I was just 13 years old.
When I walked through the front door, tears came instantly. I walked over to the fireplace and bookshelves, the mantel where Santa filled my Christmas stocking every year, and I could hear the Chipmunks singing from the Hi-Fi in the study.
Once a squirrel scampered down that chimney while we were gone and devoured a ten pound bag of pecans sitting on the hearth. He couldn’t make it back up the chimney, but I like to think he died happy.
I saw the place behind the sink where our goldfish lived in an aquarium and the bottom cabinet where my mother let me keep all my toy dishes when I was a little girl.
I saw my mother standing at the stove cooking.
I saw the three of us sitting at the kitchen bar where we ate almost every supper together.
I saw the place under the counter where my pet turtle had crawled up to die after he escaped from his bowl on the kitchen counter.
I saw the concrete floor of the back porch where I learned to play jacks.
And the place where the Dearborn heater stood in the den, keeping us warm in the winter. Where Fritz, my first wiener dog lay in the floor, snacking occasionally on the crayons strung out next to my coloring books.
The rooms seemed so small.
The hall that led back to our bedrooms that seemed so long, wasn’t.
If the walls could speak of the family that lived there from 1961 until 1975, they would tell you of laughter and parties, conversations and television shows, hugs and kisses. Love. But they would also speak of rage and silence, fear and loneliness.
The restoration of the house itself – a house built in the 1940s – was a sweet reminder of the restoration of the family that once lived there.
The Builder had been there all the time.