Three Seven Four Six

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

how do you say goodbye to a home?
a place where the majority of your memories live.

my grandparents first purchased 3746 Highcliff in 1966.
it was the model home - purchase price, $18,000.

recently on the market for one day and now under contract for $140,000.
scheduled to close - September 24, 2012.

so how do you say goodbye?
we played basketball in this driveway - shot "three pointers" from back behind that huge tree - while listening to my boom box set out on the porch.
my grandparents lived here forever it seems.
I remember after school cartoons and snacks set out waiting.
when my grandparents moved to Corpus Christi - we moved in.
rented out our house just a block over...
because this house had the pool.
we lived here at least seven years before my grandparents moved back in.
and painted over the murals my mom painted in the hallway and dining room.

Papa built the back house by himself.
at one point I thought I could live out there...  but with no a/c... yeah, that didn't happen.
we were always warned to be careful with the mesquite trees all around the pool - thorns and barefeet don't mix well. 
that never stopped us from running barefoot in the grass.
racoons would come visit from the creek below and would scamper around the pool waiting for dinner scraps.
I remember a coyote came up to the back fence once - and just stared towards the house - still scares me to this day.
a turkey vulture met his untimely demise on a power line while we were in the pool once... snap, crackle, pop and feathers... it was amusing.

the old door that I wish I could take with me from the house that Papa built.
we had pool parties on this porch.
my cat, Suki, had four little kittens in here.

Papa always made sure my grandma had fresh roses in the house.

I don't think I ever got a chance to eat a fig from this tree.
the birds always got to them first.
but the fragrance of those leaves - I need to get a fig tree.

so many of my memories revolve around this pool.
the countless parties.
the floating turtle.
the "cheese board" that we put the kittens on and set them out to sea...
Papa bringing out a year's worth of soda cans so my cousin and I can fill them all and line them around the edge of the pool - I'll have to find a photo to share.
my sister tipping over in her floatie when she was little - legs in the air - and my grandma diving in to the rescue - clothes and all.
standing on my dad's shoulders while he walked to the deep end and back.
our dog, Callie, barking every time we splashed.
basketball in the pool.
my grandma and her countless video recordings - if only we could find them and watch them again - she would always try to get us on film while we were in the pool.
the sound of the pool motor and cicadas.
hoping a turkey vulture wouldn't swoop down and eat me.
the smell of chlorine.
spending so much time in the pool your toes go raw - and not even caring.
so I don't know how to say goodbye to 3746 Highcliff.
because when I say goodbye
this home becomes a memory as well.
no longer a place to go home to.


Frances said...

Wow, Bonnie. You surely know how to pull at my heartstrings! I love seeing your pictures of your childhood home and hearing some of your memories. I don't know how you say good-bye. You just do. A couple of years ago, my family had to say goodbye to my parents' home, after having already said goodbye to my parents. It was like another death. I'm thankful I live far away (600 miles) so I don't have to be tempted to drive by and see new people not taking care of the yard and the house the way my parents did. They were such sticklers for trying to make everything look homey and perfect. My thoughts are with you as you walk through yet another difficult part of life. I do believe these painful things make us stronger and make us appreciate everything in life just a bit better than we did before. Hugs from my heart to yours.

Scott said...

Bonnie, as I am sure you have experienced, it's painful to go back there now. I went there a few weeks ago to mow the yard and wound up spending what seemed like hours wandering around, just revisiting things. Though I think I have on some level known for awhile now that that house wouldn't always be in our family, actually having it flaunted in front of you makes it suddenly too real.

I have not even spent one one millionth of the time that you and your siblings have spent in that house, and I know how hard it is for me to go over there, so I can only imagine what it is like for you guys. I'll always remember watching the planes fly over as a young man, back when I didn't know that people with eyesight as bad as mine couldn't be a pilot. And that was back when the Air Force routinely flew their big birds over there. I remember coming up for summer visits and swimming until my arms and legs would no longer move. Going inside into what is now the dining area and watching five minutes of TV until I passed out. I found it funny that you brought up the part about rubbing your feet raw, because I was thinking about that a few weeks ago when I was over there. Never in my life have I swan as much in one sitting as I did at that house, and I remember the raw toes - to the point of bleeding sometimes - but still going back in for more the next day. Though you would like to be able to find Bonnie's home videos, I for one am not too upset that they have been lost. There's not much to see - just us diving under rafts trying to hide from the camera. Imagine how dangerous Bonnie could be with today's video cameras - we would never see her coming if her video camera was easily concealed (unlike the one she used to have, which was roughly the size of a Honda Civic). A picture of the cans lining the pool, though, that would be pretty cool to see.

And then we all got older. Inevitable I suppose, and without question better than the alternative. We're in different cities now. Married. Kids (OK, so I'm the only one with the kids, but anyone is welcome to borrow mine for the weekend if they want to have the experience). Careers. Life. The obvious and expected progression, but still it sucks. When I was younger, going to that house always meant we were together and got to see one another. After 11 years of trying to make it back to South Texas, I have finally done so and now am too busy to see the sunlight on most days. And I think that is what is the saddest thing to me about going to that house. It's a very real and material reminder that life has gone on. We are all scattered. It's going to be rare that we are all going to be together again in the same place at the same time, and, if we are, it's likely going to be under unhappy circumstances. But, knowing that I work close by is re-assuring. I can still drive by the house that bears the first full address that I ever learned and remember those simplier times, when good friends and family were close together and the demands of modern life were non-existent. And that, I think, is quite comforting. Just like that old house was.

Also, Bonnie, for what it's worth, I have a bunch of clippings from that fig tree. Four of them seem to be forming roots. If they take off and survive the winter, I'll make sure you get one.

Post a Comment