Monday, March 8, 2010

The House That Love Built

The year was 1949 and the young married couple of only four years, were so excited to be building and buying their first home. A two story red brick bungalow with full basement, would be their cottage home for over 50 years.
This sweet home, with it’s plaster walls, wood floors and arched doorways would be the place they called home. The place where family and friends gathered for Sunday dinners, holidays, birthdays and backyard picnics. The place where they could feel safe, secure and loved. This home would be a special place.
The special place I speak of is my childhood home.

Lately, I find my dreams taking me back to that special bungalow. Maybe because of my own home remodeling projects or maybe I’m a little home sick at times, but I find remembering is so bittersweet and special.

I can still see the wonderful times we had under that light shingled roof. God blessed that home with love and laughter. Filled our home with memories that bring such joy today. This was the only home I knew growing up. The only home I would spend all my school years living in until I went to college and married.
Long after that time, my little family came to love and cherish my childhood home too. Even my friends held a special place in their hearts for that special place.
I used to think, well it’s the darling way my mother decorated, the ideal layout of the rooms or the front porch swing. The music that always came from the piano and the voices singing out God’s praises.
Then I realized, as the young couple who built the house, my parents, grew older, it was none of those things that made this home endearing at all. It was the special way those wonderful people, my parents, made you feel when you entered. You see, everyone was welcome. Everyone could come for dinner. Everyone could enjoy a steaming cup of coffee or a fresh baked cookie. They certainly were not rich, but rich in love and giving. They always had room for another at the table. It was the home of sharing, caring and love blessed from above.

As the years flew by, the sweet couple aged, the time would come, that God would have another plan. The man of the home, my father, would be called to his eternal home. Then, after 22 months the sweet lady of the home, my mother, would be called too. God had a plan and their work on this earth was through.

Suddenly the 1949 two story bungalow, was empty. For the first time, the steaming coffee, the home cooking, the music and the laughter were silent.
As we boxed the treasures and moved the furniture, the silence was deafening. The movers came and carried boxes one by one. Little by little the sweet bungalow was shed of her age and possessions.

On the last day, I spent time alone in my childhood home. I just had to walk through each room one more time. Each corner of every room was special. As I gazed through the emptiness, I could close my eyes and still see the times of love and laughter. I could see mother in the kitchen and dad in his basement workshop. I could see the Christmas tree and everyone singing hymns around the piano. I felt the cool breeze coming through the front door and I could hear my mother say, “it’s going to be cold tonight.“ Dad would answer, “how bout that cup of coffee hon.”
Then I imagined myself many years ago and how wonderful the times had been growing up in a place with so much love and friendship for others. I suddenly wanted it all back again, unchanged and young. But in my heart, I knew it could never be the same. The time had come for another young married couple to live in the house that love built so many years ago. A time for new memories and a new family. Deep down, I felt the home would always be mine. But since I was taught so much about love and sharing in this special place, I quickly made peace in my mind about the new owners soon to occupy my childhood home.

I slowly walked out the door for the last time, to my best guy waiting to drive me away, I ran my hand along the faded red bricks and for an instant remembered myself and girlfriends playing 7up against the house with our tennis balls. The tears began to fall. I could not stop crying for the house that love built. Saying goodbye to a structure that held so many wonderful memories. It was then I realized, I would never really be without this special place. For all that it was to myself and so many, would always be apart of my life. I realized that in my memories I could always return home.

As I turned around in the car to watch the house till it was out of sight, I could see Dad’s flag waving in the wind. I could see Mother's front porch swing swaying slowly in the breeze. It was like the house that love built was saying goodbye to me. It is a memory that will stay forever etched in my mind. God blessed me with a great gift. Not by brick and mortar, but by the love and learning that came from the special people within my childhood home.
That 1949 red brick bungalow was “The House that Love Built.”
Celestina Marie©2010

“Remembering is a blessing from God and a special gift we give ourselves from time to time.” ©cmd,2010

Blessings and Blue Skies till next time, Your Friend, Celestina Marie

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