Friday, July 23, 2004

OK--after writing about stuff and Ariel yesterday several things happened.

One, Sheryl tried to explain to me that Ariel wasn't after stuff. The "more" she was singing about was love. She wanted the deeper things in life. I would refer everyone to both Donny Vaughn's  and Julie Danley's comments yesterday for some extra fun there. Enough said.

Two, I belong to a non-public blog that my life long friend, Kyle Dickson, started for 4 of us who were close friends and want to stay in touch. It's a great idea for those of you who want to try it with your own family or friends. Each of the 4 of us has the ability to post on that blog and comment with each other. It's a private blog where we can discuss and share and pray for each other--as well as harass and tease. What more could you want?

Anyway--Kyle and his family are moving to a new house in Abilene this week. He was writing about what makes home "home". He asked us to respond to a couple of questions and it made me realize how much I love a few particular "thing-a-ma-bobs". I want to copy some of what I wrote and ask you the same questions and see what you have to say.
Kyle wrote this about my home growing up in part of his posting. It really made me homesick.
I know we all share memories of Sam and Judy's house on Weatherman Lane that seem almost sacred--home as holy ground--whether packed with Christmas-sweater-wearing coeds or a few lucky friends. The gifts that BST has taken with him to Nashville of caring attentiveness were born of days and nights spent watching his home transformed into a mission, a way-station, or an inn.

That made me feel nostalgic and got me to thinking about some of the things that cause me to feel that sense of "home". Here was my response:

It's hard to answer the question about memories and "home". I guess I might have to admit that there are certain material things that cause me to feel that such as the antique dresser and mirror that sat in our hall growing up and now sits in my mom's entry way. Thinking of all the people dating back to my great-great grandparents who stood to look in that mirror, I've often wondered what kinds of things they thought. Did my skinny little great grandmother think she looked fat? Did my great grandfather who served in the House of Representatives ever look at himself and wonder how he got where he was? Did my dad's father ever look at himself and feel guilty for the way he was living and treating his family? Did my own dad ever stop to look and promise himself he would be different and make the world a better place? It's like a little piece of history...stretching back miles and miles.

There's the clock my father made for me on the wall at my mom's house. There's the "grandmother" clock my mom bought for my then future family sitting in her living room as if waiting to be handed down over and over again.

There are priceless pictures. Pictures of relatives long gone, pictures of my dad with his wicked little grin, pictures of childhood. It was the environment of fun, energy, love, humor, and acceptance that defined home for me in Abilene.

At our house in Nashville, there's a big leather couch on which we've slept, laid, jumped, vomited, comforted 2 children, socialized with friends, watched a million repetitions of Beauty and the Beast and the Wiggles, and more. It's sacred.

In our den are two important pictures on the wall. Both are large black and white Gordon Trice photos. One is of Sheryl in her wedding dress in a plantation in Nashville peering down a winding staircase as Gordon stood below to take the picture. The other is of   Sam Thomas Elementary School (named after my dad). My mom commissioned Gordon to take it. At the bottom of this piece is another little window where Pam Trice enlarged and copied a selection from my father's personal journal where he talks about wanting to become a teacher. Priceless to me.

But, still, the most important parts of home are the people who are there, whether resident or guest. Maybe it was being an only child that did it. Not sure. Most likely it was seeing that heart for people modeled in real ways by my own parents. I always wanted people to come over as a kid and then into adulthood. We have a dear community that meets at our house on Sunday nights --our home church. Maddie gets so excited about their arrival, she stands at the door and looks out for at least 20 minutes prior.

These are things that say "home" to me. I'll ask you the same question Kyle asked me...

- What images, objects, scenes, memories, or ----- do you associate with home?
- What do these connections suggest about your view of your home past or present?


wstaple said...

When I think back to my home growing up, I remember being in an environment that everyone could be themselves. We always tried to make each other laugh. One image that will forever be in my memory is that of my dad running through the den in boxers, t-shirt and socks, then intentionally sliding once he hit the linoleum. He would skid to a stop, give a "Saturday Night Fever" pose, then bless us with an emission. We'd all die laughing, except for Mom. We knew she thought it was funny, but I think she felt the need to be the only person acting mature at the time.

Another vivid memory is that of smell. (No this is, different from my dad's gift.) Our house always smelled so wonderful. My mom stayed at home with us kids, so she started working on supper every afternoon right before we got off the bus. The smell of that night's supper, or maybe some freshly baked cookies, was always awesome. The times when she would cook homemade applesauce or can apple butter was one of my favorites. When we visit my parents now, they're in a different house, but the smell of food that I grew up with is still there.

judy thomas said...

Thanks to Kyle for his comments about our home--it was a very special time in our lives, and I treasure it. Love Mom

Brandon Scott said...

Mom--I borrowed some of your thoughts about the dresser and made them mine. Your writing about it made me think and ponder what types of things they would have thought. Funny--I honestly used to stand in front of it in our entry way at home practicing performing, or goofy faces, or looking at my face trying to imagine how it would look when I was 34 (which seemed ancient then). Our poor relatives were probably rolling over in their graves.

judy thomas said...

Home is such an emotion-charged word; some people have good emotions surface, some very bad. In thinking of my Hamlin home, I remember how modest it was; yet how warm. I remember eating our first TV dinners on the first TV trays and watching our first TV show on the old black and white. I remember the early days when we did not have indoor plumbing--what a horrible way to greet the day. I remember helping Mother hang clothes on the clothes line and how they smelled when we brought them in out of the sunshine. I remember the first sound of the day was my dad reving up the old pick-up just outside my window as he prepared to go to work. I remember how the evaporative coolers didn't work as we tried to get ready to get ready to go to church on hot Sunday mornings. I remember all the hands of canasta my family played on the old kitchen table. I remember the garish flowered wallpaper we were all so proud of and how the wallpaper paste smelled as my parents put up the paper. I remember listening to baseball games and "The Shadow" on the radio in the corner of living room. All this and so much more--I should have used it for my blog! Everytime I pass a home with a light in the window and see a family sitting and having fun together, I get very weepy and nostalgic.

julie said...

Judy, you are right that some people have a hard time coming up with good memories and thoughts from home. I grew up in a very dysfunctional home but I can still pull out some warm thoughts from my experiences there. My mother was the best cook ever. She was from Alabama and she made all those delicious Southern dishes from scratch...turnip greens, mashed potatoes, fried chicken, cornbread, coconut cake and always with iced tea laced with lemonade. Our sheets were always hung on the line and smelled wonderful. My dad sang around the house all the time...beautiful tenor voice. My mother also sang around the house...that is another story(two hearing aids). That is not a bad memory....always off-key but singing her heart out...Zippity do da, Lonesome Polecat, hymns, Que Sera, and whatever else popped in her head. When we came home from school there would be a fire in the fireplace, candles lit on the either side of the big mirror above the fireplace, and something freshly baked and ready to be eaten. No, my parents didn't know very much about parenting but they did know that our physical needs needed to be met and mostly they meant well and I am thankful for them and what they have offered me. They did the best they could with what they had and for that I am glad.
grace, julie

Tim Castle said...

Books. Lots and lots of books. Sitting in my dad's study, and smelling the smell of old books and coffee. We lived in a number of places when I was growing up, but that was a constant.

Now my parents live with my grandmother in San Diego, and I spent a lot of summers in that house growing up. It is the one place that has been there my entire lifetime.

The things I remember at my grandparents' house are many: the rocking loveseat that my grandmother loves to this day; the smell of hamburgers; the smell of the ocean air, and faint smoky smells from fire pits at the bay, just a mile away; the sand from the beach that stayed on our clothes and legs would drop onto the patio out back when we came in, and we'd later feel it under our feet when we went out to play; the sounds of dominoes or playing cards being shuffled.

I'll have to put more of this into my own blog... it stirs up a lot of memories, especially since I'm at that house right now.