Thursday, September 17, 2009

You Can Go Home Again

I'm in North Plainfield, New Jersey, staying at my sister Cheryl's house, which also happens to be my childhood home. My mother sold it eighteen years ago, and it was owned by other people in between; my sister bought it three years ago. She and Carey did a lot of renovations to the kitchen, adding French doors out onto a deck that didn't exist when we were growing up. But it's still recognizably the same place, though "Claudia's room" has become "Cheryl's room" - the room where my sister works from home and scrapbooks; "Cheryl's room" has become the master bedroom.

I'm in the living room right now, where I used to lie for hours on the couch listening to Petula Clark's "Downtown" on the "hi-fi" - it was here that I would also lie on the floor to dry my hair in front of the heat registers. Outside is the front porch where my sister and I would sit in mid-August waiting for Tom the mailman to bring us our birthday cards in the mail; our birthdays are four days apart, because we were both one year minus four days apart. At the bottom of the driveway is the indentation which would fill up with water after a rain; there Betsy the doll would go swimming. Alas, poor Betsy - Cheryl and I decided that we wanted to make her into a Betsy-Wetsy doll and cut a little slit in her soft rubber behind. Luckily we gave up the plan before we cut the accompanying slit in her mouth. Cheryl still has Betsy, and she still has Betsy's bathing suit, and the little plastic suitcase in which we stored Betsy's bathing suit. Cheryl still has absolutely everything from our shared past.

Upstairs is where we used to play drive-in bank, sitting in the small space formed by the opened bedroom door and an open cupboard door; one of us would sit there while the other one would "drive" by and collect a lollipop. The cupboard door is gone now, but Cheryl has plans to replace it. So next time I come to visit, we can play drive-in bank together.

You CAN go home again.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, I love this. I'm thinking about adding a bit more to my already groaning credit cards so I can go home to see my older sister.

    When I was little, she took me on a grand adventure to the theatre (we walked for miles with our lunch in a large, rumpled brown paper bag) where we watched a triple feature of vampire movies. I'd like to take her out on opening night of Stephenie Meyer's "New Moon." Seems appropriate.