Frontknocker, photo and all text © Irene O’Garden, 2013
The light is frank as ever through the windowpanes. Cabinet latches squeak and snap just as they did. The attic is still a hot, stuffy, slightly scary place of boxed-up memories and discards, though my parents’ wartime loveletters live elsewhere now.
Last week we visited the house I grew up in. A few years ago, I discovered I had sentimentally taken its original blueprints when we moved in 1974. I realized they belong with the house, and sent them to my old address. The present owners were delighted and invited us to visit when next in Minneapolis.
Guided by two charming young girls and their mother, we learned they dry mittens on the same radiator, toss pajamas down the same chute, yank and dangle off the same banister.
All is not the same of course. Both are healthier by far than I was, with a mother who can express what mine was unable to. But what a warm old joy to look beyond my Boogeyman closet out my old bedroom window to my three tall hemlock friends still swaying there, to walk across the street to the original “Forest, What Would You Like?” forest.
Experiencing memory through the other end of the telescope–so very small, so very dear—gives perspective to proportion. The lives we now live, so big and important, will themselves feel small, one day– small as an early classroom, small as a kitchen’s forgotten dimensions, small as a dividing cell. It’s the nature of expanding consciousness. But large or small, then or now, feeling’s bright needle stitches it ever together.
Did you ever visit a former house?
Incidentally, two of my poems have just been published here in the Summer 2013 Issue of Summerset Review.