Friday, July 20, 2007

Memories of my Childhood Home

The house that I grew up in is the house where my Dad still lives. There was another house to which I was brought home from the hospital but we moved out of there when I was four years old. My arrival and eventual growth caused that cute house to become too small. I was the third child. More space was required along with a better school system. So, we packed our bags and moved across the county line. That was the biggest move of my life until I went to college.

Unfortunately, the earliest memory of that house is that of fear. We went to my grandmother's house for Thanksgiving and were gone for a few days. We lived in a gated community and my parents didn't think twice about asking the guards to pay extra attention to our house because we were leaving on a short holiday. When we got home, exhausted and ready for bed (a four year old's perspective), we arrived to a completely trashed house. I remember seeing papers strewn all over the floor along with other precious things. The only room that was untouched was my room. My Dad quickly sent us outside and called the police and our trusted neighbors. I remember standing in the driveway for what seemed forever. After much investigation the police told us they pretty much knew who was responsible and that they were a professional group. They couldn't be sure due to a lack of good fingerprints. The majority of prints on the window through which they entered were mine. The guard my Dad asked to "watch" the house skipped town the next day. My sense of security and safety was completely crushed. I was convinced a bad guy was upstairs waiting to get me and that went on for years.

Thankfully, through the Lord's healing power I am free of that fear. The rest of my memories of my childhood home are good ones.

My Mom stayed home with her children from the day her first born arrived. Having my Mom at home was all I ever knew and came to expect. I couldn't quite comprehend my friends who had to go to daycare or even use their own keys to enter an empty house. I took the bus all the way through elementary school and would walk home from the stop. Sometimes just because she felt like it or the weather was bad, my Mom would come to the stop in the car and drive me home. Starting in middle school my Mom drove me to and from school. I am thankful for those drives because middle school was such a hard time and my Mom's car was such a peaceful, happy place.

There was always some kind of a snack waiting at home. It wasn't always homemade but it was there. Homework was encouraged after a time of winding down and oftentimes I would go ahead and get it done because that way I could enjoy the rest of the night. If I watched TV it would either be a show on PBS or something like Little House on the Prairie, the Waltons, or Andy Griffith. I LOVE those shows to this day and will probably show the DVD's to my children.

Dinner was always enjoyed as a family around the table. My Dad was a physician and even with his busy schedule he would be home for dinner. Of course, there were nights he was on-call and couldn't leave the hospital but those days were the exception, not the rule. Dad would call home to say he was leaving for home and my Mom would do the finishing touches on dinner and when Dad got home we all sat down for our family meal. If I wanted to be big like my parents and drink tea I had to drink my glass of milk before dinner and I remember sitting on the counter top while my Mom cooked dinner drinking my big glass of milk.

Reading was a very high priority. My first memories of reading were when I was in preschool. My teacher would give us a book to take home to read to a parent and then they would write a short note saying we did it and then we would get the next book to do the same. Many times my Mom would put a kitchen chair in the middle of the floor while she cooked and I would read to her out loud. If I struggled with a word she would come to me and help me sound it out. A love of reading was born. Every summer the library was a treasured adventure. I remember there was a particular tree we would always try to park under because it gave extra shade on a hot day. I would bring my tote bag and we would fill it with all kinds of books for the week. I was always part of the summer reading club. TV was off limits during the day because my Mom said "there was nothing worth watching on the TV till at least 4 pm." So, the summer afternoons were spent either playing, napping, or reading.

I also spent the summers at the community pool. However, I could either go in the morning before 11 am or after 4 pm. The hours in between were when the sun was too strong and bad for our skin. My Mom slathered the sun screen on us. I hate sun screen to this day but protecting my skin is so ingrained in me that I can't help but do the same things. I stay out of the sun during the "strong hours" and I always use sun screen. But, back to the pool. I LOVED swimming. My Mom would often drop my brother and me off in the afternoon for a couple of hours. When we were ready to come home we would call from the clubhouse and she came to get us. We were famished but there was always a wonderful dinner waiting for us once we took our showers.

Summer family vacations were extremely important. We went to the same place in the mountains every year for as long as I can remember. Apparently, I went there even when I was still inside my Mom's womb. This place was perfect for a family vacation. You can do as little or as much as you want. There were plenty of activities and we often did them but there was also plenty of time to, of course, read. Every person in my family would bring a stack of books. These vacations were the only times I remember seeing my Dad devour a book after book. At home he only had time to read the newspaper. But, he sure did read on vacation. My Dad still goes to the same spot and invites all of us when we can go. I can't wait to take my own children someday.

Now for a little family dynamics. I am the youngest of three. My sister is 6.5 years older and my brother is 5 years older. I was in fifth grade when my sister was in her first year of college and my brother left right before eighth grade. So, my eighth grade year was the first year I was an "only" child. I missed my sister and brother a lot and I was always so excited when they came home for the weekend. Sometimes my sister would take me out for special "sister time." We still try to do stuff like that when we get together. I also felt like big stuff when my parents would drive me up to where my sister was in college and I would stay with her in the dorm. We would go to a football game and hang out with her big, college friends.

I then grew up and went off to college myself. As you can see from my profile I went to the University of Georgia. Go Dawgs! My Dad said that if we went to UGA we got a free ride through his generosity. Anything more expensive than that was up to us be it through scholarships and/or a job. My college decision was an easy one and UGA was even the only school I applied to. My parents let me take a car to school and paid for me to park in the parking deck near my dorm. They wanted me to be safe and able to come home whenever I wanted. I went home pretty frequently until I started dating my now husband. It is kind of funny how a beau makes you not want to leave town. ;-)

A very sad came not too long after I graduated from college. My Mom passed away rather unexpectedly. My family grieved in our own ways but we found great comfort in knowing she is in heaven with her Savior. My Dad has since remarried to a wonderful lady whom I am proud to have as my son's Grammy.

I love going to my childhood home. We only live a couple of hours away. Sometimes I will pack up Caleb and we will do during the week while Chris works. I can relax when I go there because I am surrounded by such great memories. One highlight of my year is Christmas when we all descend on that home. I know that is a big reason why my Dad doesn't want to sell that big house and get a smaller one. I will be very sad when he does but we will always have memories of our childhood home.

7 Readers Shared Their Love:

Rebekah said...

When I was 5 we came home to find our house broke into. Six months later we were broke into again through the same window. I can remember being scared to get too close to that window.
This was a really fun carnival. Good story

Rebekah said...

I forgot to mention that I have a 'Caleb' too. I wanted to name him Caleb because it wasnt a super popular name. Since then, I have ran into several people/ kids with that name. Still a great name though

Rebekah said...

Sorry to leave another comment but ofcourse I had to go read about Caleb's birth. My Caleb had to be rushed to ICU right after he was born. He came out so fast that the water didnt get pushed out of his lungs. He spent 3 days there.

summershine said...

I'm so glad you overcame the fear associated with the break in. Thanks for sharing your memories.

ellen b said...

I had a sahm too. How nice that your dad is still in that home. Blessings...

Owlhaven said...

Interesting stories!


Barbara H. said...

How awful to have had your home broken into, but I am glad you found your security and safety were in the Lord.

These are neat memories!