Posted by: GeekHiker | May 27, 2007

The parent’s house, part three

SUNDAY 

House Numbers

4506.

For twenty years, those were the numbers that represented home.  Today was the last time that I’ll ever pull up to that house and those numbers, knowing there was family waiting for me inside.

I only took a few photographs of the house, as my Mom had photographed it extensively before it was all packed into boxes.  The numbers are such a simple thing, but they seem evocative to me, somehow.

We started today by venturing out for some necessities: food, certain housewares, etc.  Unfortunately, the closest, most convenient place to do this was… the Wal-Mart SuperCenter.

I’ve never been in one, and, well, good God Almighty, I’ve never seen such a thing.

As was said of Bryce Canyon, it would be a hell of a place to loose a cow.

Seriously, it’s huge.  The Romanian Army could fit inside.  Hell, I’ve been through small towns that could fit inside.  That department in the corner over there?  Yeah, that’s just Liechtenstein.

I’m not a huge fan of Wal-Mart, their business practices, cutthroat international push for low cost labor, lack of affordable employee heath care, etc.; but this trip isn’t about that, so I’m not going to go into it here.

That said, this place was amazingly humongous.  And it had everything.  At low, low prices of course.

The errands done, it was off to the old house.  The last trip, which involved checking for any last minute items, vacuuming, sweeping the garage, saying goodbye to the neighbors.

And saying goodbye.

Memories, of course, came flooding back in the process.

I stood in my old bedroom, empty now, staring at the pale blue walls.  It seemed smaller than I ever remembered it being in my life.

On the brass recessed handle for the closet door I saw the ding that I accidentally hammered into it when we first moved in.

The long shelf under the window where I displayed the models I built as a kid.

I remembered the long hours doing homework at the desk in the corner.  Working on AP history papers, putting together projects, struggling with Algebra and Chemistry assignments, reading a novel by some old, dead guy (as I thought of it at the time).

I remembered my first birthday in the house when we moved in 20 years ago, staying up late at night listening to music on the cassette WalkMan my parents had given me.

The first tape?  Why, the Star Wars soundtrack, of course.

I walked into the backyard and looked at the redwood trellis my Dad and I built when I was in high school.  60 feet long, built with 2×2’s running the entire length.  Underneath, 20 feet of redwood deck we built too.

Trellis

I’ll really, really miss those structures, I think, since they were something that Dad & I built together, one hot Sacramento summer so many years ago.

I remembered taking pictures under the trees in the backyard with my high school friends, before I left for San Francisco.  Me and my fellow geeks, including my girlfriend at the time.  The girlfriend who would end up dumping me for one of the other guys in the group (one of my best friends), but only after thoroughly messing with my head.  C’est la vie.

I remembered biking back and forth to school and learning how to drive on the local streets.  The parking lot nearby that that girlfriend and I used to make out in, in the back of the Toyota Corolla I would later own.

Heh, the back seat.  How quaint and old-fashioned.

And, as I walked around the outside, I remembered my first summer home from college, when I couldn’t find a summer job, so Dad paid me to paint the house.  Which hadn’t been painted in 30 years at the time and needed to be stripped first and then painted.  In 100 degree plus Sacramento heat.

Needless to say, by the next summer, I had me a damn job.

But as I write this tonight, I don’t know that I miss the house itself.  The memories that were triggered, sure, but the house, not so much.

Perhaps I’m just tired from having spent the rest of the day helping my parents re-arrange stuff, but as for missing the building, I’m mentally shrugging my shoulders.

Or maybe it just hasn’t sunk in yet.

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