Thursday, April 19, 2012

you can always come back home.

This is the house that I grew up in. My family hasn't lived in it for over a decade, but, in some small way, it will always be home. I had the chance to go home last weekend to surprise my oldest friend, EE, for her birthday. It was wonderful to see her, and see her wife and family that I love like my own family. When asked if I wanted to do a drive by of my old house, I was excited! Of course I did!

There are a few things that have changed, of course. The huge tree that shaded the entire front yard, where I used to lay with my first love, my gorgeous dalmatian Murphy, is completely gone. The stone that I painted with our house number has vanished. The lamp post that EE banged her face off of in our junior prom pictures has been torn away. The bench that I sat on, wrapped in an afghan, and cried after my serious high school boyfriend left for college has moved from the yard (where the lamp used to be) to beside the kitchen door - too close to the house to have real privacy. The neighbors that I knew are all gone, but the bike path by the hydrant, that JY and I wore down (and then one neighbor took a chainsaw to, in the rain, in a classic "disturbia" moment) over years and years of middle school adventures, is still there, looking very much the same, despite the chainsaws best efforts.

I know that inside, there is a totally different landscape, that the pool table is probably gone, but I can only hope that the kids that live there get to experience half of the amazing experiences that I had growing up. I hope their friends are as loving and positive as mine were. I hope their parents are as willing to host every kid in the band for birthdays, graduation, and just random friday night parties. I hope they fall in love, and out of love, and in love again. I hope they find their very best forever friend. I hope they get ready for dances, especially the girls, and come down the staircase in their first pair of really high heels, praying that they don't fall in front of the cutest boy in their class. I hope they love their lives and hold tight to their friends, and remember that being unkind is a petty waste of time. I hope that they realize that there is life after high school, and don't lose hope when things get hard. I hope they dream about what being a grown up will be like while they play hide and seek in the attic, and lay on the grass in the backyard, staring up at the endless Pennsylvania sky, and realize just how lucky they really are to grow up in a small town.

And maybe, on quiet nights, they can hear the ghosts of my childhood playing silly games - like that amazing bat thing that EE and LJS used to do. Or maybe they hear the whispers from EE and me, giggling at all hours of the night, sharing secrets on whiteboards, crying over broken hearts and bad dreams.

This post really took on a life of it's own. I meant to write about my weekend with EE, but I think I'll leave it for next time, and leave you with my favorite picture of my first love that I have sitting on my mantle in my grown up nest...

Murphy with itty bitty baby Ellie.
He was so tolerant of her.
And always the most perfect dog.



Hayley Bragdon said...

I am the oldest of four kids that live in this house now. We have changed a lot, but the pool table is still in the basement. :)

Jackie said...

Oh Hayley! How did you ever find this???
I'm glad to know that some things really never change. My best to you and your littles. <3

Hayley Bragdon said...

My friend sent me the link in a text and told me that one of his friends had liked it and it showed up on his news feed on Facebook. What a small world! I loved reading about your memories from the house. I have made many unforgettable ones, myself. I'm 18 and leaving for college this coming fall. I hope my 8 year old sister and my 6 year old twin brothers get the chance to experience just as many memories as we did!

Jackie said...

This world is so strangely small. Thank you so much for commenting, it means the world to me. Congratulations on high school graduation (soon!) and heading out to college! I remember backing out of the driveway, looking in the rear view mirror, and being in tears before I hit Hostetler Road. I remember thinking that everything would be different from then on. And it was, but good different for the most part.

Big love to your little sister and brothers! I assume the hockey (soccer?) net in the driveway belongs to the boys? ;) Knowing that there is an 8 year old girl living her life where I grew up redoubles all of my wishes for her. And for you too.

I'm so glad to share this, even in the smallest way with you. Connecting in this small way sort of reiterates the title (and coincidentally, Mraz lyric that I've been obsessed with). Thank you for connecting Hayley. xoxo

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