While cleaning my apartment today, I found this poem I had written some months back in a moment of sentimentality as I was helping my mom pack up every little belonging we had accumulated in our old home. Some people don’t understand my attachment to the house I grew up in, so here’s the basics: from the day I was brought home from the hospital as a newborn, that house was the only home I knew; we never moved. I lived away for months or weeks at a time while living and working at summer camp and going to college, but it was always there to go back to. My room was always there, with all my old posters, and books, and keepsakes. And more than that, it’s where I escaped to when I was going through the roughest moments of my life and my mood disorder, where I could curl up in my comforter, the safest place on earth. Those walls saw it all. It was my safety net when I needed it most.
So when my parents told me they were moving to North Carolina my first thought was… well, actually my first thought was, “crap, I need to find my own place….” but my next thought was, “but THIS is home.” It is true that home is where the heart is, but a significant part of my heart will always be in 80 Brookside Drive. The most perfect house anyone could ever ask to grow up in with the best family anyone could ask to grow up with. The stability of always having that one home kept me grounded and comforted during my most trying times, as I was learning to finally rely on myself and not let some stupid chemical imbalance consume my emotions. Not that it’s been all rainbows and sunshine on my own, but I can manage with my memories to fall back on.
I guess I’m publishing this as a wish: I wish for everyone to have that kind of comfort and that kind of home in their lives, because I recognize how special and rare, but utterly important, that is to find sometimes. I was incredibly lucky.
This is an “Ode to the Brookside”:
There is a small neighborhood street,
Where a green house resides,
With an expanse of woods behind,
And a small winding brook beside.
Forsythias bloom bright yellow in April,
Fading to green when May arrives,
Birds nest in the blueberry bushes,
And a wealth of pine trees grow tall and thrive.
My father used to scare me with tales,
Where Indians rose from their graves each night,
To dance and chant around the house,
Ghostly figures in the dark, awaiting dawn’s first light.
Where I had my first drink, and learned the guitar,
And had every birthday cake and graduation,
We watched the thunderstorms roll in through the skylights,
And learned to experience life all around us as a celebration.
I loved the smell of autumn and grapes,
Fallen on the driveway from the vines above,
Crushed beneath my feet as I walked to my car.
These are the things that make you so hard to let go of.
24 years of laughs, stitches, and a broken bone-
Your walls witnessed every high and low.
80 Brookside Drive, I called you home,
And always will, for you helped me grow.