WordPress Weekly Challenge: HOME

I pull the knobs on the Formica desktop that’s part of a built- in dresser and bookshelf. It’s where I used to do my homework.  Remnants of my childhood surround me—photos, books, souvenirs, and other assorted memorabilia. I’m in my childhood bedroom, a room I shared with my sister.

It’s at this desk I wrote essays by hand, struggled with algebra and physics lab reports, completed French worksheets, and probably wrote countless notes to friends to pass during class the next day. I might have addressed Valentines, and birthday party invitations, and written thank you notes to my grandparents.  I place my laptop down and plug it in.

It’s often said that when you return to the home you grew up, where your parents are, you revert to being their child and perhaps that recalcitrant teenager.

I try to visit my parents monthly. It’s about a three -hour drive from my house in New Jersey to theirs in Connecticut. I arrive in time for lunch, escort my mother on some errands, and then eat dinner. Sometimes in the evening we take in a movie or play Scrabble. Mostly, we watch a little television and knit.  I usually return to my home by late afternoon the next day.

My visit this week however, kept us all up at night. After 49 years in the house, they realize they need to sell. The house and yard are too much to take care of. My mother needs to limit her driving and they live in a town, though scenic, is remote.

July, 2012

July, 2012

Already they’re having a tough time listening to the realtors who advise them to declutter.

“It’s lived in,” mom says.

“We’re selling it as is, “ adds dad.

And that’s that. It’s home. Loaded with memories of four children growing up. I got married in the living room after the tent erected outside toppled in a freak June hurricane.   I sewed prom dresses here. I returned from working as a bus girl, late at night, reeking of cigarettes and greasy food.  I played touch football on the lawn with friends. My children dug in the sand pile out back and helped mow the lawn on the big tractor. And so much more.

We’re not sure how long it will take to sell the house, or where they’ll move.  Home will become more about where they are and less about this place.  In the meantime, I’m going to start throwing out a few old magazines and newspapers.


About cyclingrandma

I was a journalist (Danbury News-Times, Ct), before becoming a teacher, and continue to write for professional journals. I have written several study guides for Penguin Books and write for Education Update, a newspaper based in New York City. (www.educationupdate.com). I’ve interviewed many authors, college presidents, and scientists. I wrote “The Kentucky Derby’s Forgotten Jockeys” for Smithsonian Magazine's website, www.smithsonian.com. (April, 2009). Two essays have been published in book anthologies; one for Wisdom of Our Mothers, (Familia Books) and the other in “College Search and Parent Rescue: Essay for Parents by Parents of College-Going Students.” (St. Martin’s Press). I was a middle school Language Arts teacher for more than 10 years and have just completed a five year grant position under No Child Left Behind in Newark, NJ public schools. I have three children, two daughters-in law, and six grandchildren. I'm an avid cyclist, knitter, cook, and reader. I love theater, museums, and yoga.
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27 Responses to WordPress Weekly Challenge: HOME

  1. Ruth Bailey says:

    Your post is an apt illustration of how home is so much more than four walls and a door. Even though your parents feel they must move, they will take all those memories with them, as will you and your family.


  2. RANDY JACKSON says:

    As usual Lisa, a very good read. You look just like your mom. RJ


  3. Sharon Gill says:

    Always a tough task – but it’s gotta be done. Ease into it. Got a few other ideas … we can talk. xo


  4. My parents moved from my childhood home when I was 25 and although they have a new home and I love to visit them, it’s weird to not go home where I grew up…


  5. Robin says:

    Oye VEy


  6. The inevitable rears it’s ugly head again. But time makes its own demands, doesn’t it?


  7. This is the reality. When I was taking care of my patients, this was the hardest part of what I did. Talking about selling the home, limiting the driving, and where to live. Many chose to move closer to family which meant moving to another city or state. The majority chose to stay close to friends. Thanks.


  8. Barbara Klein says:

    Your friends are very sympathetic! I’m already “pishing mit zie oigen”, but it isn”t as bad as all that. Tsvei alter cockers we are, but couldn’t you find a better picture?


  9. Jean says:

    I hope things work out well for your parents. My 84 yr. old father has cancer…and my mother doesn’t drive. They do live near a transit bus stop…

    We worry given their 3 level house which at the time they bought it, I told them it should have been 1 level…that was over 15 yrs. ago.


  10. Oh Lisa, So beautifully written, with precision. The memories, the growing pains; switching from past to present tense. When our roles are reversed, are we ever ready?


  11. Jo Bryant says:

    A new stage…can often be the most wonderful time once we embrace it


  12. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge Home, Love, Valentines Day « 2013 Weekly Photo Challenge Blog

  13. tchistorygal says:

    Very difficult. My mom didn’t want to move, and she had to readjust several times. Each time was hard!!! Mom ended up loving her retirement home. She met lots of friends, played cards, and didn’t have to worry about cooking, cleaning or anything, really. It was nice. My grandma lived in the same home for over 30 or 40 years. You couldn’t walk INTO the basement. She still had mom’s high school clothes, and Grandma was 80 by that time!! Mom and Randy tried to have a garage sale, and Grandma couldn’t part with her NEW stuff – tea pot from her 20th anniversary (40 years later).

    I look at the stuff my husband and I are collecting, still, and think, “Poor J!!!” Marsha 🙂


  14. Love seeing your parents!

    When mine sold their house, it broke my heart but the sadness does subside some in time. Kath took pictures and we made Mom a neat book we presented to her about six months sooner.

    Oh no about the tent! Do tell!


  15. Pingback: Cleaning My Old Desk Drawer: A Slide Rule, Kilt Pin & Peace Now | cyclingrandma

  16. That’s kind of rough, but at least they have each other, and they have you. It was sad to sell my mom’s house after she died. I still drive by it whenever I am visiting my mother’s sister in Detroit.


    • We’ve realized we have to stop thinking in hypotheticals– what if this, etc. and just deal with each day. They’re happy there now and hopefully we can just add some more help as needed.

      On Sat, Mar 2, 2013 at 1:21 AM, cyclingrandma


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