Monday, January 18, 2016

We were 465 and 7586.

When we would check out books from the library as kids, there would be envelope at the back of the book with a card in it. To check out the book, the librarian would take out the card and write the last four of your phone number on the card. There were a lot of books that had 7586 on them.

About a year ago, my mom let our old phone number go. That was weird. I always liked the little pattern that 7586 made on the phone. When it was coupled with the prefix, all the numbers in the middle two rows of the phone were used. It was strange to know that I couldn't ever call that number and have the anyone in my family answer.

This weekend, my mom moved out of her house. 465 has gone the way of 7586. The numbers still exist, of course, but have no more relevance to our family.

My dad used the chassis from an old truck of some kind to make this mailbox post.

I went there for the last time on Thursday. I helped my mom in the kitchen mostly, packing the cleaning supplies from under the sink, sweeping now-empty pantry, and other odds and ends. In the early afternoon, we sat down and ate a Jimmy John's sandwich. I made sure to sit in my old place at the table so I could look out the window at the mountain with the face in it that only Amy and I could ever see. The church that was built in 1991 sort of ruined the view. And the trees that my dad planted that just kept growing and growing.

This is what it looked like to eat dinner from my chair. Back in the day, Michele and Suzette would have occupied these two chairs. My dad would have been to my left, my mom on my right, and Amy at the other end of the table to the right of my mom.

In fourth grade, I read "Anastasia Again!" by Lois Lowry. In it, Anastasia Krupnik moves from her apartment in Cambridge to the suburbs. On moving day, everyone is sad, but especially her little brother. He says his blankie is sad to leave the apartment. As a solution, Anastasia cuts the blankie in half and folds it small and leaves it in the corner of the hutch. I always remembered this scene when I move and have made a habit of leaving little "I was here" tokens. So after lunch I took a sharpie and went on a mission. I don't know if you are supposed to do this or not, but I wrote a message on the very top shelf of my old closet. "This was Amy and Becky's room. Then it was Becky's room." I then gave the sharpie to my mom to do the same. Standing on the stepstool so she could reach the very top of her closet, she wrote "I loved this house" and signed her name. I remembered the picture I took on Christmas of what I felt like was my dad's "I was here." How long will it take the new owners to find these leftover clues?

The tree grew around the saw my dad left in the tree many years ago. Just the tip of the blade is now visible.

Before I left, I walked through every single room and remembered and remembered. I lingered in my old bedroom longest, thinking of the nights Amy and I would talk when we were little, watching the lights from the cars make a familiar track across the ceiling. I thought about the mornings when I would lay in my bed after eating breakfast and look in my closet to decide what to wear. I realized how impossible it was to remember it all. I felt that strange juxtaposition of being in a place right at that moment and knowing that very soon the moment would end and I wouldn't ever stand there again but again, being right there.

So many emotions. Not all of them good. I wish some things could have gone better in this process, but it wasn't mine to control.

I doubt I will  ever stop having dreams about this place.

Goodbye, 465.


Amy Sorensen said...

Awww. I wish I would've left a note, too. I'm glad you two did, that is the ultimate in..."damn, that's good"ness. Hugs. You'll have to share your pics with me, since mine were all taken at night.

Anonymous said...

Goodbye Allman House! Love the sharpie idea!

Britt said...

This was cool to read yours and Amy's tributes to your house. I miss my childhood house a lot.

Feisty Harriet said...

I left a similar comment on Amy's post, but Imma re-write it here too.

I do not have any ties to my childhood home, but am bound heart-and-soul to the mountains that watched over my as I grew up. I feel incredible lucky that for a thousand years the mountains will be there, and no matter what happens to the house, those towering hunks of granite will be home. Honestly, I sobbed for days a few years back when they burned from top to bottom. SOBBED. How dare that fire try and destroy my mountains! The good news is the mountains are still there, scarred a bit, but still there, guarding my memories.