Friday, February 11, 2011

Life is but a vapor...

For a very long time, I had read this statement in the Bible, but didn't realize the truths it held. As I grew older (and maybe a little wiser) the smoke cleared and it's meaning has taken on a new respect for me.
My mother passed away shortly after my 12th birthday and in the course of time that followed, motherly influences in my life came in the form of my grandmother "Nan", several aunts, and mothers of my closest friends. My bond with my mom's older sister was a close one. She was hip and cool to me. She had the most amazing closet of clothes that she welcomed me to go in and look through to see if there was anything I wanted to wear. She would cut my hair and style it for me and give motherly instruction on what to wear and what not to wear. Sometimes I listened ... sometimes I didn't, but I knew the love we shared was deep and wide no matter the differences we had.
We lost the close touch that we had shared in those years after my mom's death - for reasons I cannot pinpoint. Life passes so quickly and the next time you look up, it's 10 years later and you are living in another part of the country.
I recently saw her again and although the circumstance for the reunion was a very sad one, my heart was immediately filled with the love that was reminiscent of my early teen years.
Today I'm going up to visit Aunt Wendy. She is in the hospital, fighting the ravages of mouth cancer and a body that is shutting down after nearly 87 years on this world. I'm anxious to sit with her and visit - and go back in time to a place when we were much younger and sillier and life was so very happy and full.
She told me on the phone that she is a little self conscience of her appearance but I assured her that through my eyes, I would always only see the 35 year old beauty that stepped in to try and fill a vast void left from my mom's passing.
I'm anxious to see her and make up for lost time
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I decided to attach an article that I wrote about my childhood home. The ladies of TDIPT are sharing in a series of articles entitled "The House that Built Me". I had a wonderful time writing this and realizing how much I remember of those days so long ago, that were overflowing with love.




I grew up in St. Joseph, MO, whose claim on the historical map is being the home of the Pony Express and the place where Jesse James met his end.

My parents purchased a house on Woodbine Road shortly after I was born, and at that time was considered “country living”. My father worked several jobs while my mom stayed home and filled our house with much love and many antiques. Our home was a haven and solace for all who entered. My mom could meet you at the door and in an instant you knew you were welcome in our home and that her love was genuine and true for you.

I often dream of my beloved childhood on Woodbine Road. Growing up, we never worried about leaving the doors unlocked or playing outside long after the sun went down. We had an acre of land that accompanied the house and that acre was the daily meeting place for every kid in the neighborhood. We grew up playing baseball, football, kickball, & hide-and-go-seek until our parents were hoarse from calling us to come in and get ready for bed.

My dad was so talented, he could build anything; he was so handy that he could fix any problem that arose. He built the fireplace on the south side of the house. My bedroom is in the top dormer that you see in this photo – it was a place that I always felt safe and secure.

Our lives were very simple and happy. On my wish list every birthday and Christmas, you would find - #1: A HORSE - and - #2: A COWGIRL OUTFIT like I saw in the “Monkey Ward” catalog. I never got either, but that didn’t stop me from asking for them!

We had many big apple trees that my girlfriends and I climbed daily. We would imagine it was the home where we lived together and various boughs of the trees became our kitchen, living room and bedrooms. My mom loved roses and planted beautiful rose gardens on 3 sides of the house. There was a white picket fence that lined the driveway and we walked the tight rope and learned to balance high wire acts with the greatest of ease as we mastered that picket fence!

Being the only girl & baby of the family, I suppose you could say I was a wee bit spoiled by dad. Some of my favorite memories are trailing behind him all day long and wherever he was, you would find me. I spent hours in his shop, watching him work on one project or another. He built stilts from wood and I loved the feeling of towering what felt like 10 feet above my brothers as I strutted on stilts around them. He built skateboards for me and my 2 older brothers, and in no time I was skating in circles on that front porch that seemed so much bigger when I was young.

We hosted many family gatherings at our home. My dad built onto the kitchen, doubling its size and also laid a brick patio out back. I still remember relatives dipping sweet tea from the huge crock on the back step or anxiously waiting for the ice cream maker to turn off, only to hear dad announce that it was time to “DIG IN”! Mind you, we kids didn't notice most of that, as we were too busy picking cicada shells off the trees to scare each other with!

In 1966, life changed drastically for all of us. My mom, whom we loved and cherished, passed away days after my 12th birthday. My dad could not bear living in this home without her, so he sold it and moved us to another part of town. I always felt that a piece of my heart stayed behind in the move. After many years, I came back to St. Joe and made a point of driving by our home. I was thrilled to see that it had been turned into an antique shop. Even to this day I am drawn to that house and each time I find it open for business, I go inside and walk the rooms, reliving the first 11 most wonderful years of my life. And sometimes when I listen close, I still hear the whippoorwills calling to each other just like I remember them doing in the early morning hours of my childhood on Woodbine Road.

2 comments:

Whimsey Creations said...

Bless you for that statement to your Aunt Wendy! What a loving thing to say. I hope you have a wonderful visit with her even though it may be a little sad. Hugs!

Cookie said...

I had the most wonderful, incredible day - and I thank God for every blessing He laid in my path today.
I am truly blessed beyond measure ♥