A bittersweet goodbye to a childhood home
Home is an interesting word. The dictionary defines home as “a place of residence, a social unit formed between a group, a familiar setting or a place of origin.”
Because of the deep-rooted families in Fredericksburg, I am sure many of you live in a home that was once lived in by your parents or grandparents or another descendant.
The house I currently live in, was built by my husband’s great-grandfather in the 1950s. Since its inception, the home has been lived in by many people, some who have taken great care of it and others who have worn it down.
For the last 20 years, 225 Palm Springs Drive in Colorado Springs, Colorado, has been a place of residence, my familiar setting.
It’s the only place I’ve lived for more than four years in a row. It’s the place where I learned to ride a bike. It’s where we celebrated holidays with family from California, Arizona, Florida and Texas. It was where we hosted dinners and played games.
My home on Palm Springs Drive was like a smores dessert in color, with a light brown, graham cracker stucco and a rich, chocolate-colored trim. It had a huge front door that never quite sealed in the winter, making the draft from a snowstorm blow through the main level.
It had a giant backyard with a wooden swing set and a yellow slide, a gathering place for the neighborhood kids.
The upstairs level had four rooms, and mine had two windows. One window opened to the roof and whenever it would snow, I could peek past the blinds to determine whether or not school was cancelled.
My room was the most painted room in the house. It started out white, quickly turned pink, and when my tomboy personality thought pink was too girly, I decided to paint it smiley face yellow. When yellow became faded, it got painted a sea-foam green. It was the room I spent many nights talking on the phone with my best friend, the place that I felt safe during a storm.
At the top of the stairs was a wood banister that looked down into the living room. Early Christmas morning, my sister and I had to wait impatiently at the top of the stairs for my dad to let the dog out, wake up grandma and brew the coffee. Only then, could we come storming down the stairs to see what Santa has left us. The stairs were perfect for racing up and down on. As the big sister, I got the outside so I could easily push my sister into the wall to slow her down.
My entire life I had a fear of basements even though ours wasn’t the least bit scary. I would race up the stairs as fast as I could with the fear that someone might grab me.
There’s a song by country superstar Miranda Lambert called “The House That Built Me,” and she sings about the memories associated with a childhood home. It mentions the handprints on the front steps and that if we could just visit our home once more, the brokenness of leaving might be healed and that if we could just walk through the door one more time, the memories would flood back, reminding us of who we are.
The house on Palm Springs has so many wonderful memories inside. It’s the place that no matter how many times I leave it, it’s always been there when I come back. The place that has housed three wonderful dogs over the years, one of which took her final breaths in the front yard.
As of last week, my perfect house on Palm Springs Drive has gone under contract.
My family made the decision to sell the home following my parents’ divorce.
The divorce has been somewhat easy to ignore because I haven’t been around, but saying good bye to this house has wrecked me.
When I go home in May, it will likely be one of the last times I get to experience the sights and smells of a familiar place.
I always hoped that one day my own children would get to walk through that home and I could have shared the many memories.
At the end of Lambert’s song, she says, “If I could just come in, I swear I’ll leave. Won’t take nothing but a memory from the house that built me.”
Until then, I hope the new owners take care of this special place and hopefully in 10 or 20 years, I can walk through those doors once again and be reminded of the house that built me.