I generally stay busy and when I do have free time, I usually spend it catching up with friends or focusing on things I might have pushed aside. But, I will admit there are times when I am mentally exhausted and look for some mindless activity to pass the time.
A few nights ago, I sat with my iPad on my lap and engaged Google maps to look up places I lived at different times in my life. I was curious how the houses had changed from the mental images I carried with me. I was only able to find photos of one house.
It is so funny what memories come rushing back when we see photos. This house was green when my parents bought it. My dad painted it a pretty pale yellow, but it took a while for him to paint the detached garage. When we gave someone directions to the house we always added ‘it’s the yellow house with the green garage’.
This is where my mother planted colorful portulaca and bleeding heart bushes in the flower beds. And a lilac bush in the corner. This is also where she discovered the cancer that would take her life.
This was where I lived with my parents and three siblings in 924 square feet which sounds small but seemed big to me. Six of us.
It was here my sister told my parents she was pregnant and they sent her away to live with my sister. I would never meet my nephew.
It was here we had Mulligan the Cat – a rescue my mother scooped up after a man kicked him outside a convenience store. And Whiskey the cocker spaniel my boyfriend gave me. My mom named him because she said he was the color of a nice aged whiskey. And Irish, the Irish Setter my mom wanted after we all left home.
We had an unfinished basement where we had parties and I had sleepovers where we chanted “I believe in Mary Worth”. It is also the place where my father met with his “Boo Hum Ditt Dum O.M.A” secret society where they did some chanting of their own.
This is where I lived when I started to date. It is where Dave with his baby blue Camaro and matching baby blue eyes came over on Saturday to watch Scooby Doo. It is where my mother made “Wild Punch” a concoction of orange juice and lemonade.
This is where my father insisted I paint a mural on the living room wall that would be immediately sanded off by the new owners.
It is funny, we think we are finished with places and things in our lives, but they truly never leave us. They are there waiting for a stimulus causing the memories to come rushing back. It is up to us how we remember them and whether we attach any lingering emotion to them.
I definitely was not expecting this post to be the result of that idle search. Funny how things turn out.