On Monday, I said goodbye to my childhood home. It will be several more weeks before my family vacates the house, but due to my insistence on living a thousand miles away, my farewells came early.
While the piles of trophies, books, photos, postcards, letters, movie ticket stubs (I’m a hoarder, after all), lay untouched and unsorted, I wandered around the house. Room to room, my eyes went past the furniture and accessories; those things will travel.
It was the paint color I wanted to remember, the moulding in the corner, the loose knobs on the doors. Those details are the ones we can’t cart away and recreate.
How many steps are there to my bedroom? What do the neighbors houses look like from each window? Where exactly does the sun fall on the carpet? Isn’t that where the cat used to stretch out for a nap?
After I finished my tour of the untransferable details, I looked for the ones that, though small enough to slip into boxes, wouldn’t be making the trip.
A row of seashells on the bathroom ledge. Height marks ticked into the whitewashed closet door. Three Zits cartoons haphazardly taped to my brothers’ wall; his name is Jeremy, too, and his clothes also smell. In his room, peeling and nearly transparent twenty years later, is the sticker that alerts the fire department to the presence of a child.
In the kitchen, where the home phone used to live, there are more pictures of the Obama family than ours. “Well, they send me photos!” explains my mother.
Outside, overgrown with tiger lilies, there’s a small marker for the family cat. I tried to capture the precise angle of the adirondacks in the yard, wanting to remember exactly how they sat. The buoys hanging on the garage door, the birdhouse I painted ten years ago, the tiled steps my mom made that lead to the wood pile.
I took pictures from every angle I could think to take pictures. When I can’t remember exactly in what order the glass jars sat on the ledge, or the placement of the fire department sticker, or the deep teal of the bathroom, I’ll have something to bolster my memory.
Related Post: I get my hoarding from my father.
Related Post: My town + Amy Poehler