Yesterday, columnist Mary Schmich told a tale of inviting an older man in from the sidewalk to see the Chicago flat he grew up in, her flat, a beautiful read, as always with Mary. It ignited my memory of a visit I made a couple of years ago, when I was like the man on the sidewalk, to my North Carolina grandparents’ house, now in new loving hands.
It’s not true that you can’t go home again – of course you can. What good are our memories if we can’t use them to time travel once in a while? Much of it happens through our senses – the smells we suddenly remember of grandma’s bacon, the sounds of the bugs hitting the screens, the touch of the scratchy sofa, the taste of the watermelon – and there we are, back in the kitchen where Grandma kept her teeth in a glass on the windowsill where they would grimace at you when you snuck up to study them?
In fact, when people start a project of capturing their own stories to share with younger generations, it is a common suggestion to sit down with some paper and a little time to draw out the house you grew up in, thinking about what would it sound like, who would be where, who would not be home, what was for dinner. Memories and sensations knock each other over trying to get your attention.
If you read about my visit to the house, above, and are curious about one of the memories I dug up, follow it here.
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