Going Home Again
At the sale of the house he grew up in, Bob Perks learns that some memories are priceless.
Don't tell me you can't go home again. I just came back from there.
My phone rang early last Saturday morning."Hey, did you see in the paper that 466 is having a house sale?" my brother asked.
"No, are they really?"
"Yes. I think we're going down later to just walk through it."
466 is the house number of the home we lived in when I was growing up. I lived in a community where the older generation always stayed close to where they were born. Families rarely moved away back then—that is until the kids graduated high school. Then it appears that most of my classmates left the area.
So many of the old homesteads were left with parents growing old and children returning for holidays and funerals.
"Well, if you go, let me know what it looks like," I said.
Then it played over in my mind. It must have been that I hadn't had my coffee when my brother called. "How could I pass up a chance to see it again?" I said to my wife. "Let's go!"
I was actually nervous. On my way there, my mind replayed a thousand memories. When we pulled up, I began to shake. I am a man whose emotions lie barely below the surface. I am a writer and a speaker, yet I still can't capture in words my real feelings at the moment I set foot just inside the door.
I was home.
Introducing myself to the current owner, I put my hand out and said, "Hello. I’m Bob Perks. I
used to live here." He kept his arms crossed in front of him and didn't respond. Maybe this was a bad idea.
I continued nervously telling my story. He finally warmed up when he realized I valued the home as much as he did. He lived there 21 years. I called my brother to tell him where I was.
"I thought you weren't going!" he said.
"I guess I really had to be here," I replied.
Much to my surprise, the owner turned toward me and said, "Come on, you need to see the rest of the house. I'll take you upstairs myself."
"But you have a sale going on," I said.
"This is more important," he replied.
Then the man actually closed the front door and took us upstairs. My room. Oh, my. If I could just sit in there all by myself for a little while, the rush of memories would overwhelm me.
My parents’ room. I could see clearly where every piece of furniture had been back then…my mom sitting at the vanity table, the small music box powder jar she kept on the right.