You can’t go home again. – so says author, Thomas Wolfe
Last week…on this year’s feast of the Epiphany, a day still blessed with the last of the lights and music of a waning Christmas, I was browsing through a local antique shop.* Checking to see if my pen and ink drawing had sold yet. There it was, perched on top of an old sideboard, beneath a warm and pretty wood staircase I hadn’t really noticed the last time I was here.
“Feel free to go upstairs too, and have a look at more,” the shop woman invited.
I glanced upwards, suddenly realizing — “You mean, the part that was the old apartment?” I asked, wonderingly. Somehow I’d never thought of an entrance through the shop…
“Well, it is a showroom now, sort of,” she answered, not catching the kid-in-a-candy-store lilt in my voice. She had no way of knowing the sweet memories I held of those quaint rooms above the antique store…the gold she was offering me. To see once more the place my close friends made home for the first year or so of their marriage. In that, my first season here in a new state. So many dreams and hopes and life-shared moments ago.
“I’d go with you, but my knees…,” she smiled, with a slight grimace. As she grabbed the ringing phone, I couldn’t resist slipping through that doorway at the top of the stairs, feeling a bit like Nancy Drew searching out hidden clues in the attic. Strolling among those rooms again…
At the top, there was the vintage-decked black and white bathroom. Guest room-now-turned-store office, on the right. To my left, the once-upon-a-time master bedroom, with its bay window looking out on the beautiful sycamore tree and sloping lawn. Almost holding my breath, I stepped on into the adjoining living room that was now connected by french doors.
At first glance, my heart sank. Everything seemed much…smaller…than I remembered. And —What had they done to the cozy warmth, the charm?
There was the once-white fireplace, now scuffed and half hidden by… junk… scattered haphazardly around it. A massive and outrageously garish painting overshadowing the mantel. The thin and long vertical rectangle windows on either side of the fireplace – with the decorative iron swirls that made them look like leaded glass – seemed lost, a bit dusty, uncared for. More massive artwork stacked up beneath them.
Here and there rickety occasional tables with mismatched china cups on top. A pretty antique Windsor chair I loved – the one thing in this now shabby room that held…loveliness. I peeked around the corner, hoping to see the kitchen with its old-fashioned cupboards and another bay window. I’d loved it for it’s endearing 1940’s charm. But the door was closed, a sign posted to keep out.
You can’t come home again...
Well, it hadn’t been my home…exactly. But I had memories here…
I closed my eyes…and like Meg Ryan in “You’ve Got Mail,” seeing her younger self, twirl-dancing there in her beloved but now empty bookshop… I could see those memory moments of my own in this place, hear again some sweet voices…
- 14-month old Megan (now a mom, herself), taking her first steps…right over there… looking to us for approval, while we all laughed and cheered her…and she fell happily into our arms.
- My friend’s twinkling eyes as she…aunt to Megan… bent over the child in her arms…whispering I love you … And baby Meg, grinning – loving the words tickling her ear — whispering oh-so-softly back, “More…more…”
- Megan’s older sister, three 1/2 year old Katie… rocking out to her imitation of the then popular Michael Jackson… there in the corner where the…hmm, artwork…was now stacked.
- All the times of fun dinners… holiday celebrations… music…and laughter circling all around two families of friends, enjoying their first two of many little-ies to come… Sweet echoes, like the songs of bells…
Now, I ran my eyes over the once-loved rooms, memorizing again the pictures in my mind.
Wishing my friend and I had a free hand to transform this place into the charmer of an antique showroom it could be… restore the love it had once known.
Leaving, I paused and looked back. I watched as the sudden sun lit a corner of the room, fluttering light like a butterfly sprinkling a last little dance of magic. No, I guessed we never can “come home again,” at least not in the literal sense, I thought.
Still… came His reminding whisper to my ear… Whenever I wanted to, I could close my eyes… and find it there. Wonder… that lingers on the air, like a soft fragrance.
And that is the lasting treasure after all, glowing like stars that God has strung in our hearts… never shabby, ever shining.
© Pam Depoyan
I’ve got pieces of April, I keep them in a memory bouquet
I’ve got pieces of April, and it’s a morning in May… – from the song lyric, D. Loggins
Does your heart hold a place of treasure…a bit of wonder… you can only go back to in your mind? I’d love to hear about it…
pen and ink drawing: mine (All rights reserved. Please do not copy without my approval. Thanks! 🙂 )
* You can read more about my memories of this place in these posts:
I’m linking this post to Ann, at http://www.aholyexperience.com/ – joining in THE JOY DARE, counting 1,000 gifts from His heart in 2012…
O, Thank you, Lord…
#1 – For children who “won’t leave their warm hellos behind a door” (see Catching Joy…)
#2 – For the gift of unwrapping tender memories whenever we want to…
Tag: You can’t go home again… well, ha.