Last week the girls had three days off for the New Jersey teacher’s convention. It had been ages since we had visited my mom in Rhode Island so we headed up for a visit. We did lots of fun things but one of the most interesting for me was a trip to the house we lived in from the time I was three until a bit after my sixteenth birthday. I have not been back since the day we left.
When we moved from Long Island to Rhode Island in 1976, we rented a house on the property of St. Mary’s Home for Children, my mother’s place of work. We planned to stay for six months until we found a permanent home but we remained there for thirteen years. The house was built in the 1700s so it was full of cool features like winding staircases and fireplaces in nearly every room. When we left, St. Mary’s converted the house into offices so I knew that the space would look different.
I’m not sure though that I was totally prepared for how different but yet how similar it would be.
For example, here is my bedroom.
But at the same time, so many things were exactly the same. I learned that St. Mary’s has gone through very difficult financial times since we left so there have been next to no updates to the house. The sink and tub in my bathroom were exactly the same. The counter tops and appliances in the kitchen were the ones I remembered from my childhood. The popcorn ceilings that scraped my knuckles more than once were exactly as I remembered.
When the girls want to interrupt a conversation, they’ll often shout out “Pause!” as if the person they are talking to is a television show. I think I am going to opt to push the pause button on my memories of my childhood home and keep it just the way it was. Because in some ways, during our visit, I felt like a cliche. I always thought our entry way was grand. In truth, it was tiny. I always thought our kitchen was spacious. It was not. I am glad we went back. It was fun for the girls to see where I lived when I was their ages. That said, though, I think I am going to keep my memories as they were before. Before we saw my living room full of desks and my play room housing the computer server. I think am going to go ahead and push the pause button.