It has taken a long time for me to fully appreciate the great gift I was given by my Dad and Mom. Growing up everyone thinks the way their family is, is normal! It is all we knew. As time passes and my life has intersected with hundreds of people, reality begins to set in. My childhood was far from “normal.” My parents married in the 1940’s and bought their first and only home “215.” Though it is small by today’s standards, a two bedroom, 1 bathroom with approximately 1,000 sq. ft, I never noticed. Dad built a room on the back we used for a kitchen table and mom used for an office. After Eric was born, three kids in one bedroom was a little tight I guess, but we didn’t really notice. Dad made Michelle her own bedroom up in the attic and Eric and I shared the downstairs bedroom.
Our extended family was pretty good size and mostly lived close by. It seemed we had a ton of aunts and uncles and cousins. Mom would have picnics, parties and celebrations at every holiday. I remember backyard picnic/parties for as far back as I can remember. As kids getting up on the Fourth of July it was so exciting. We knew soon, all kinds of friends and relatives with all their kids and more soft drinks than we should have would be coming our way.
I remember one Thanksgiving we had a couple of tables set up down through the middle of the small living room and so many people there, we had to go out the front door, run around the house to the back door to get to the bathroom!
When I was in about 8th grade, my cousin Gary went into the military and he had an in ground trampoline he wanted to give to me. Dad said, I could have it if I dug the hole! A couple of friends and me dug the hole. We had a small but nice patio on the back of the house. When I was in 9th grade we got an above ground swimming pool. The gatherings then were still happening but now for no reason friends gathered at our house. We had card games on the patio all summer. Sleep outs on the trampoline and swimming parties all times of the day and night!
Dad and Mom were content with 215. Neither had any desire to upgrade or move. Both of them took their last breath at the exact same place in the living room. Living room is a great way to describe the space we know as 215, because living is what took place. Living, loving and connecting with people. Relationships, now that is the stuff of life that matters! Michelle, Eric and I were privileged to grow up in that home. Our families and so many others will have 215 living in their memories and hearts for the rest of life! Today, for the first time in my life, 215 is empty. No feast, no family but if walls could talk and laugh it would be filled with both.
You can see a picture tribute on my Facebook page in a picture album titled, “215.” Thanks Dad and Mom for the stability, the love and the awesome memories you created for us at 215!
Blessings and Happy Thanksgiving,