“Welcome Home.” This is what Mr. G, my neighbor said to me when we moved in. It brought me to tears. You see, Mr. G has lived in this neighborhood for over 50 years. He knew me as a small child, he knew my grandmother, my father and mother. He has seen this house slowly deteriorate and he has patiently watched as we brought it back to its potential. At that moment, I realized this really is my family home, my home, which has so many untapped memories for me and where we will begin to build new ones with family and friends. Since we started this project, the memories have been flooding back. Some prompted by sight and smell, and some prompted by my sister and neighbors.
When I first met with my contractor at the house, he crawled up under it to see what we were dealing with. I popped me head under the house, close to the dirt and WOW, the smell of THAT dirt. The memory of sitting under the house playing with a spoon and clay pot were vivid – just from the smell of the dirt!
Early in the renovation, another neighbor came by looking at the house quizzically and asking odd questions. “Did someone used to live in this house that went to college on the weekends?” “Where there little girls that used to live here?”. Our conversation continued and we had an amazing discovery. Miss Doris was my babysitter! She would babysit my sister and me and take us to Hampton Park on the weekends when my Daddy was driving to Appalachian State to get his master’s degree. It was the only way she was able to go to Hampton Park, you see, because it was segregated. I never connected myself with that time in our history, but clearly it was a part of my early childhood. And now Miss Doris is my neighbor and I look forward to visiting Hampton Park together again, as friends.
To commemorate our move, we continued with our bent toward ceremony. We celebrated with Krispy Kreme donuts on moving day. Another tradition of this house and an excuse to rationalize Krispy Kreme donuts. On Saturday’s, Daddy would gather the me and my sister, pick up a dozen “HOT” Krispy Kreme donuts and head downtown to visit my grandmother, “Ma”. Back then I could eat as many as I wanted and run it off at the park. Purposefully limiting my intake, this time we shared with the workers still coming and going on moving day. If you know me well, you know the influence my Daddy had on me and on this renovation. As the brick mason was laying the walkway, I remembered a left over brick I had with Daddy’s name on it. We had bought a brick in his name to commemorate the renovation of the USC stadium. They sent me an extra one by accident. All of a sudden I knew what to do with that brick.
So while the cats are settling in, we are working our way through the maze of boxes. Renovation continues on the perimeter on the house (patio, driveway, gate, yard, etc) and I am frantically trying to make it look as good as it did before the furniture went in….the house really was in it’s purest state BEFORE we moved in! The journey continues and I hope you will continue to follow along!