Dusting off the collection of photos that grace our family room wall, I lingered over the water color painting I had done of the old house, a gift to Bill, before it was torn down to make room for the new one.
It seems like decades ago that we occupied that small two-bedroom, gray-sided home. Memories continued to flow freely as I stared at the home that Bill and I had lived in for more than 23 years, and also the place where our two daughters grew up.
In the painting, the house was depicted in all its summertime glory — lush pink, red, white and purple flowers overflowed in the flower beds that, by August, resembled tall colorful bushes in all their flowering finery.
The proof was there right on the wall. When we bought the house, we fell in love with its cozy, lived-in charm. What we learned was that old-fashioned charm translated into lots of repairs. That old house was far from perfect, but the memories invoked are priceless. I’m particularly remembering back to when the girls were young.
It was raining one Saturday afternoon and they wanted to play on their swing set. Bill went to the garage and returned with four huge round eye hooks and his trusty power drill. He went to work drilling the heavy-duty bolts into the frame of the kitchen doorways. Then he went back outside to retrieve the swings. A few seconds later the girls were happily swinging from the kitchen doorways — laughing and squealing with delight over their rainy-day adventure.
Another time Bill came home with an over-sized plastic slide. I foolishly asked him where he thought he was going to put it as our house was way too small to accommodate such a big toy. He gave me a look like I was the loony one and told me it would fit just fine in the front room. When it was discovered that the slide wasn’t slick enough, Bill had a solution — some baby powder sprinkled on the surface and, viola! It was smooth sliding all the way. Afterwards, my clever hubby vacuums up the powder on the rug, and the front room was none the worse for wear.
I guess the reason for flashing back to these memories is sparked by the fact that we are now grandparents. This new turning point in our lives has definitely brought out the kid in us. Oh, and I’m also looking at familiar hooks in the door frame. We have a double doorway that divides the family room and my home office. Bill sized it up one day and decided it would be a great spot to hang a swing for our granddaughters. At first I balked at the idea. I resisted, and then I remembered the fun the swinging sisters had, and I relented. The bolts were screwed in and a pink baby swing gets hooked up whenever our little angel Avery wants to go for a ride.
Our new house is a perfect home compared to the one we lived in for so many years. It is big, beautiful and can handle any ideas that my dear hubby can concoct.
Last Christmas the girls had another painting done, this one of the new house. It is hung right next to the old one, and in between them is a silver heart that says, “Home is where you hang your heart. It doesn’t matter if your house is big or small, fancy or plain. It takes love, laughter and joy to make a house a home.”
I’m looking forward to the years ahead with my grand kids. Those here and those yet to be born. I hope our house will be a home they’ll have fond memories of, whether it be sliding, swinging or dancing their way into the future.
About Kathy Whirity
Kathy is a newspaper columnist who shares her sentimental musings on family life. She and her husband, Bill, live in Chicago where they are enjoying life as grandparents.
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Photos courtesy kathywhirity.com