Not any house though. Today, I accepted an offer to sell my parents’ home in the Berkshires. Next month, my brother and I will travel back home to empty out the house where we spent our childhoods. Even though I haven’t lived there in almost thirty years, it’s hard to imagine the house belonging to someone else. Soon I’ll have no reason to head back to my hometown, other than the occasional funeral or extended family event. There’ll be no hanging out and having coffee on the back porch. No sitting around the too-small den watching the too-loud television. No laughing over the fact my mother cleaned like a Stepford Wife or that my father kept four sets of golf clubs in the basement “just in case” someone needed a set. The bedrooms where I cried over unrequited high school loves and my brother blared Jethro Tull will belong to others now.
My mom, thankfully, is still with us, but she has Alzheimer’s. She moved to a care facility six months ago, and already, has no memory of the house. That means this part of my past exists only in my memory now. It’s a sobering thought to realize that in another two or three decades, when I’m gone, that past will be too. Sure, there will be photos and stories I share with Tattoo, but for every one of those, there are memories that only I now. Thoughts and conversations and diary entries that will disappear with me. Makes me realize that every day, thousands of memories die with people, and we never, ever realize it.
Sorry, if I’m bumming you out. I get melancholy whenever I talk about the past. You should see me in antique stores when I bum out over all the discarded furniture and family portraits. There’s nothing that makes me sadder than seeing someone’s old wedding photo with a tag reading Nice Frame. Those of you who read Weekend Agreement will remember Charlotte saying the same thing. She decorated her house in discarded portraits in order to give the people homes. I wrote that because at one point, I threatened to do the same thing.
I guess the point of all this rambling is to appreciate your childhood homes while you have them, because eventually you say goodbye. Keep your memories close, and make new ones every day.