Pieces of April, a’Keepin’ in a Memory Bouquet…

                                                   You can’t go home again.                                                                                                          so says author, Thomas Wolfe

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scan0001Last 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

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              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:

Day 3: The Keepsake of An Autumn Welcome Home…

Day 5: Scarlet Ribbons…

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…

                                         Click  on the badge above, if you’d like to read                                                                      more about THE JOY DARE…

Tag: You can’t go home again…  well, ha.

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About Pam@Writing...Apples of Gold

I love to hear your thoughts, even chat back and forth amongst comments.Won't you join the conversation? :) ..................................................................................................................... May my stories refresh you, like a whisper from our Father's Heart !
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8 Responses to Pieces of April, a’Keepin’ in a Memory Bouquet…

  1. Wow, Pam. I have been looking forward with joyful anticipation for little rays of your life back then when you moved to this place. I feel like a little girl uncovering a mystery. And here is a bit of it. Even if it is told from a different vantage point, I love the emotions you convey about the spirit of the place you considered “home” .

    I could remember a few. Some of the emotions would come back about some places I loved as a child if I close my eyes and recall. There are sounds and underscoring too. They were home before but what is left now are memories.

  2. I know what you mean. This post is in my adulthood of course. But I often think that my childhood seems like the early chapters of a book…. somewhat removed, but still there to “read” if I think about them. Thanks, Lolita.

    Seems like you have a little “Nancy Drew” in you too… 🙂

  3. Diane says:

    As I was reading, I felt like “a fly on the wall”, as the saying goes. Seeing through your eyes, hearing the creaking floors, and the musty air. A little sad, that the once loving home is now so lonely.

    What beautiful memories you have! Thank you for this post.

  4. Thanks, Diane… Yes, it is sad to see it like that. But… life goes on and not everyone sees the same potential in a place like that, I guess. I just always want things I love to stay the same. And the best part of our memory at least is a gift of wonder that we can hold. Yes…although, I’ve never had my own kids, memories of children in our lives are the best, aren’t they? And I guess, I’m looking for the beautiful in it all…

    I love decorating and as I wrote this, and found that pretty photo with the scalloped curtain valance, I could really imagine re-doing it to make it charming. Oh, how I’d love to do that! But how could I approach the owner and tell him THAT? 🙂 Ah, if I had money to invest, that is another avenue I’d love to try my hand at… then write on the side.

  5. cathy says:

    Fun to hear these memories Pam. I never knew you were upstairs in the “Old Apartment”.
    Amazing, I was just thinking about that place this morning. I remember getting the call in the early morning hours to come watch katie as they were leaving for the hospital to have Megan. Phil’s chocolate cake that was almost eaten by a raccoon as it cooled on the back porch. Mary’s surprise birthday party there, sunrise walks around the lake on Easter Morn. Warm sunlight seeping in over our baywindow bedroom. Maybe it’s best for me not to go back. Sometimes the changes can break my heart. I think I will pull out some old pictures today as I look for memories with Teresa.

  6. I was only just up there a week ago… hadn’t had a chance to tell you yet.

    I love all those memories you mention above… I can see them in my mind, even though some were before I got here 🙂 I know… it did break my heart to see it the way it is now. Just wanting it to somehow stay the same. But then I think that the best is what we hold in our hearts and that cannot change no matter what. A gift that we can remember such moments… So much of life is like that it seems.

    As I wrote this story I had an overwhelming thought of how fun it would be for you and me to be able to go in and transform that place. Not to the way it was, but to something that holds the charm of what it was. That would be a business I would love to start with you if we could… to help people add some charm to their homes with some design ideas etc. I could just see your pretty and creative touches.

  7. cathy says:

    That would be fun if we had the means to do it. I think I would love to do a cottage on the Lake.

  8. Yes… the means. Ah well… 🙂 At least we can dream.

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