there is a screen door that i am lusting over. it sits outside an antique shoppe, subject to the rain and snow, sun and wind. one of these days we will take big red over there and purchase it; the test is that i am still thinking about it. we have no idea where we will put it. but there is something about it; it has a story and that story will always be a mystery to us. giving that door a home again will add to its journey, its history.
last night i had a dream. it was, as dreams are, fraught with inconsistencies and unlikelinesses, but i remember one thing about it in particular. in my dream, david handed me a check he had received from someone. someone, presumably the person who wrote the check, had scratched out the address and, all along the top of the check, had written in a different address: my growing-up-on-long-island address. i was delightedly startled and pressed david to tell me about the person who clearly now lived in this cherished house, but, in the way that dreams make both little sense and all the sense in the world, he was unable to give me any more information. what i know is that it left me with a reassurance of the feeling from that house. it was a reminder of a time gone by, a time woven deeply into who i am and, for that house, the fabric of about two decades of our family.
houses remember. and you can feel it. the moment i walked into our house i knew. this was the place i wanted to live; this was the place i wanted to have the next part of my life. this house had all good things to offer; i wanted to sustain its story. i suspect it would have been easier to have purchased a brand new home way back then, something pristine and customized to our needs. something that had a sparkling new kitchen or an attached garage, central air conditioning or an open floor plan.
but this house said, “wait. don’t go. give me a chance. i can offer you a lifetime of sturdy foundation. i can tell you i have been there in the light and in the dark times. i can be a safe place for you. i can hold you and celebrate you and listen to the laughter of your children. you can walk on my old wood floors and keep food in my old pantry. you can have dogs and cats and they can run circles through my rooms and children can push or ride plastic wheeled toys round and round hall-kitchen-dining room-living room. you can use my rooms as you need. a nursery with a singing-to-sleep-rocking-chair can later be a studio with a big piano; i can rejoice in listening. you can sit in my south-facing living room and delight in the sun streaming in the windows. i know it will need a little tuck-pointing down the road, but you can burn all the torn-off-the-packages-christmas-wrappings in the old fireplace. you can paint and redecorate and remodel as you wish for it won’t change how i feel. i can be your house. and i, even someday when you have moved on to somewhere else, will always remember you.”
we really need to go get that old screen door and add it to the story of our house.