||It was the house that finally became home in 1956 when I was ten. The house that held the perfect number of steps for playing rock school. The front porch large enough for the green metal glider and chairs to sit comfortably and where my brother and sister laughed so hard while “gliding” they fell backwards off the porch, glider and all. The small black mailbox beside the front door, where in the summertime you always knew when Mr. Collier left the mail. And where every Easter morning the Flower Basket Florist would deliver carnation corsages from Daddy in pretty green boxes.
The front yard was large enough to play hide and seek, red rover and catch lightning bugs but small enough for my mother’s bed of scarlet sage, zinnias and red geraniums. The bridals wreath hedge grew along the side of the yard with its cascading small white blossoms spilling onto the ground. The sweet, delicate perfume permeated the air. My sister and I would sometimes break off long lengths of the flowers and wear them around our neck or pin them in our hair.
The back yard seemed ever so big. A clothes line stretched across the yard where Mother meticulously hung her bright, white wash. She kept her clothespin bag on the clothesline, swinging along as needed, while she held one or two more clothes pins between her teeth. Daddy had built a wooden frame and hung two flat-seated swings. A rabbit hutch held fuzzy white bunnies until the neighbor’s dogs helped themselves one night. The detached two-car garage held one car, bicycles, a lawnmower and a dog house for Honeyboy.
Inside was large enough for comfort but small enough for coziness. The living room is where we would gather on the brown, tweed couch to listen to Mother read to us or tell us stories. There was a small den with a black and white TV, a couch, a desk and a comfortable rocking chair where my mother would sit and read. There were three bedrooms and a bath. The kitchen was large enough for a Formica table and chairs for six. A wringer-washer on rollers sat in the corner. Upstairs were two large rooms used for storage and sometimes play.
I am from there. I am from 2¢ waxed lips and 5¢ ice-cream cones, rock school and red rover. I am from pink carnations and lacy socks folded under at the toe. I am from 30-minute playtimes at a friend’s house, screen doors, grape kool-aid and peanut butter and crackers. I am from Rock of Ages and Vacation Bible School, paper dolls, Trixie Belden (girl detective) and The Pink Maple House. I am from I Love Lucy, hickory nut pies and fried chicken.
I am from therethat housethat time.
Monica Lawrence Henry is a freelance writer and resides in Tennessee. She writes in several genres, including poetry, fiction (children’s stories, and short stories) while continuing to work on a non-fiction memoir.