Last fall I drove through my old country neighborhood and went down the winding road to where I grew up. I lived in one house until I was five years old, then we bought the adjoining farm and moved to a nicer home. I remember my parents being so excited to be able to buy the new farm.
The dirt road I took to my first home looked familiar. I drove by the falling down house of neighbors where my brother (five years old at the time) stayed when I was born. The story goes when he heard the news I was a girl, he was less than thrilled, stating, “Mom knew I wanted a boy!”Although the house and barn were gone from my first home, I could still see where the road turned into the driveway. New fence surrounded the land, and it looked improved from the days when we lived there.
When I tried to find my second home, though, the landscape looked totally different. There were houses on the south side of the road, where there had not been before. I could not tell where my house and barn used to stand. A new metal building was on the land, but the pond was gone, as was the gentle slope that should have indicated the edge of the yard and the driveway. I felt as lost and confused as people with dementia must feel when cannot find their way home. Recently, I told Blaine I wanted to go on a drive to find my old home place. I hoped he could help me.
We drove slowly by what used to be our land. I spotted a lilac bush that I was sure used to grow at the southwest edge of our yard.
|The overgrown lilac bush that I think was at the edge of our yard.|
|I wanted to walk around, but did not want to trespass.|
|I tried to picture where the house once stood.|
A few days later, I dug through photos to find proof of my old home place. Birthday parties, Blaine and I on our way to my first prom, our wedding reception at the house, they were all there, safe and sound in my photo box, whenever I want to visit.
|My 12th birthday with Kathy, my nephew Keith, Jana, and Lisa. This is in the kitchen. We drank well water out of the big Igloo cooler behind me. Our house water came from a pond.|
|My 16th birthday party - My friend Sharon made the cake. I was also proud of the army jacket, a gift from my cousin and her husband. I wore it all the time.|
After all, I realized the buildings were not what made my years growing up special. It was the people in that house who made it so memorable: Mom, Daddy, my sisters, Dianna and Janie, my brother Clayton (who learned to tolerate the little sister who often bugged him), good friends coming over for birthday parties, and the boy who told me he loved me for the first time at the back door before a goodnight kiss.
|Not a very good picture of us, but the big white barn is in the background. Mom made my dress.|
|Our wedding reception at home|
|I have lived here for 27 years, much longer than I lived at my childhood home.|