Memories In the Still

photo 4photo 2-1

This is the second of the two houses I remember growing up in.  The first one is the little house I referred to in my post She Played With Us.  We moved to this second house when I was 12 if I recall correctly.  It was a much bigger house and we were all happy to have more room.  This memory is from the same sibling reunion in my post Forgotten.  However, where the memories of my Grandmother eluded all of my siblings in that story that day, it would prove to be very different on this day.  Our sibling reunion this summer, in our place of growing up, seemed to awaken in us older ones, the desire to visit these places of growing up that we had not seen since a long time before.  A day or two after visiting my Grandma’s house, we chose to come here.  It was named “The House On Walker Road” and has forever been called that by all of us.  My older brother, M, and I would remember this and the little house equally, as our childhoods were split between them.  But the younger ones remembered this place mostly.  The pictures above were taken by my parents, years after the property had been acquired by the local University and boarded up.  Good thing.  Because when we visited this day, the house and all but the big barn were gone.  Just gone.  Swept away by big machines, and developers, and the “urbanization” of our property on Walker Road.  Never mind that.  They can’t take the memories.  And this day.  This day the memories came in full force.  Like the kind of wave at the ocean that takes you by surprise and knocks you flat on your hind end before you even know what hit you.  This day.  Finally.  My siblings remembered.  It is always interesting to me, when taking a stroll through memory lane, how strange and unexpected things will trigger the remembering.  A smell.  A laundry room floor.  A sound…  A water well.  This was where it happened this day.  The remembering.  There was a water well by the back door (first picture above).  We played on it.  A lot.  As is usually the case, with my tender child heart, the remembering came faster than for the others, and I was already lost in them…the memories…and the tears were falling quietly as I walked alone.  M  and I were walking closer together when he saw the well first.  He couldn’t finish the sentence he started when he said “Julie look.  The well is …”  “still here,” I said, “I know.”  Once these words were whispered, suddenly we were in the remembering together now.  Nothing more was said as we walked silently over the grass that was gone, the trees that had fallen, the barns that were no longer there.  The memories were coming in droves, flooding our minds, weaving a tapestry of a childhood forgotten.  We walked back to the one barn still barely standing, although soon it would be torn down by the claws of the big machines that didn’t care about the childhood we had there.   This was the barn we played in.  Falling apart as it was, it still held the memories of milking goats at six in the morning, and climbing the ladder to the loft to play in the hay bales, and anxiously awaiting the first bleating of the baby goats being born.  We found the trail that led from the barn to the road that the goats liked to escape on, causing us to go running in all directions trying to herd them back to the barnyard.  Eventually M and I made our way back to where the house once stood.  There we found the other four, silent in their own remembering.  Nothing was said as we drove away this day.  We took the route away from our place of growing up that we’d taken so many times before…past the little house that was just down the street, past the dirt road we rode bikes on, down the big hill we sledded on, up the big hill and around the big curve that I used to stand and watch my daddy drive away to work on.  I’d watch and watch until I couldn’t see even one tail light left in the distance, only then would I leave my standing place, the place I said good-bye in.  This was my final good-bye to my place of growing up.  I have never returned.  And I never will because my place of growing up has disappeared forever.  Now there will be big buildings all in the name of economic growth and opportunity.  But for me.  It will always belong to us, no matter what buildings stand there.  Memories burn deep in our child hearts.  They bury themselves as we do all of our growing up.  And they emerge at unexpected times and in unexpected places, and in unexpected ways.  But they are always there.  That’s the thing about memories.  This one popped up this morning, an unexpected time, as I was driving home in the snow, after dropping off my youngest at middle school.  Maybe the snow brought it to me…snow is so quiet and makes everything so very still…And there it is.   That’s where the memories stay.  In the still.  Quiet.  Waiting.  Hoping we will stop long enough to just.  be.  still.

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  1. I love what you’re doing with your blog. I’m amazed at the pics you have. Where are you finding them? I cry at every blog you write! I love you and the quiet memories you’re lighting in my heart!

  2. Beautiful!

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