Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Little Pink House

Here is the house I came home to when I was born, in 1970. This photo was taken near Christmas-time, judging from the lights still hanging around the roof.

Can you tell from the photo that the house was pale pink? I wonder if the color of one's childhood home contributes to her personality in any way.

Strain your eyes a little and behold the red-carpeted front step, and the cactus beside the door. Who puts a cactus right by the front door? Welcome mat, no... cactus, yes.

It was 1970, as I said, so stepping inside, you would see the white carpet, gold sofas, and dark wood wall paneling. Not to mention my mom's five-foot high painting of a Spanish bullfighter in blues and greens.

The backyard was huge by Vegas standards. My dad built a two-story playhouse back there for my brother and I, complete with a balcony. Through the years, we had three dogs, three cats, a rabbit and a couple tortoises back there. Additionally, my father found the skulls of cattle on desert hikes and wired them to the back fence for decoration. There was also a tire swing. And a pool table, at one point. And morning glories. And a patio table with Dad's arrowhead collection displayed on the top. My tenth birthday singing telegram came to that backyard. Most of my ballet recital photos were posed there. And our doberman, Tia, once cornered me in the sideyard. (All the good memories blend in with the not-so-good.)

Inside, once the white living room carpet was replaced with dark brown, Dad and I would watch NOVA on PBS while eating ice cream out of glasses. The macrame plant holders that Mom made still hung nearby, but Mom lived elsewhere. Not until halfway through tenth grade did I walk out of that house for the last time. As an adolescent, I wasn't sad to leave behind my bright blue room, the cockroach problem, or memories that balanced precariously between good and bad. I had always wanted a front window in the living room, where we could set up the Christmas tree, and we had that in the next house.

All these years later, I still drive by my old house from time to time. I want to make sure it's still there, and see how it's doing. I can't get away with staring for long, but it only takes a second for the memories to rush in anyway.

I was shocked to see the pink house painted yellow on my most recent visit. There is also a broken window, an unfamiliar car in the driveway, trash and junk furniture near the driveway, and a different front door. Plus no cactus on the front step. But I can tour the floorplan in my imagination. I can see the red and pink carpet in the bathroom. Remember the new kitchen phone with its ten-foot cord. Help a couple of Dad's girlfriends move in, then out. Celebrate another birthday, another Christmas, another Easter. Then I drive away.
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