Sunday, November 25, 2007
I had to take my Mazda 626 to my mechanic AGAIN. It was the thermostat, which was replaced when the radiator was replaced earlier this fall. The radiator broke while I was in the drive through line at the dry cleaners and the big SUV in front of me would...not...move. The car was towed. I'll admit it, I haven't always been the best with automobile maintenance, but I've gotten better with each successive car and I have been very darn good with this one. So much so that my mechanic actually commented on it. I've got a great mechanic. A little garage that has been in business for at least four decades. My Dad took the family cars there when I was growing up. I actually drive my car across town or some times get it towed across town to take it to Jim's Car Care. So recently, when I noticed my thermostat doing the reverse of what it has done in the past (going above half way toward the H) and actually going down toward the C, I stopped by the mechanic. After a check and being told there is nothing to worry about (let's all take a second to knock on wood here), I decided to cut through the neighborhood to get on my way to where I was going. Before I knew it, I was right in front of the house I grew up in. I had heard it caught on fire this summer. Apparently, the fire started in the garage which was turned into my Dad's den a long, long time ago. There was a work crew redoing the house and it was wide open. It looked like a scene from one of those house flipping shows on HGTV or TLC. I parked looking for a long moment before deciding to get out and go inside. I'm almost never on this side of town and when I am, seldom go past the house. This day though, I felt compelled to see it. I explained to one of the workers that I had grown up in this house and wanted to take a look around. I stepped through the threshold into the entry and was surprised by how small the house was. I didn't remember it being that small, nor did I remember the back yard being that big. The shag carpet was gone, replaced by very nice hardwood floors. The den where my Mom had painstakingly chose just the right shade of burnt orange blinds,from the Decorating Den, for the window was gone. It was knocked down to make a great big kitchen with black granite counter tops. The whole house was painted the colors from any current shelter magazine - taupe and green. There was the ceramic dark green tile floor in the kitchen replacing linoleum. I stood in my old bedroom and all these memories came flooding back - of being a little girl there. As I stood in the living room I could see in my mind's eye my Dad sitting in the chair reading the paper every morning. I could see my Mom studying for her Masters in the bedroom - her books and papers all over the bed. Lots of different memories, lots of feelings from a long, long time ago. I talked with a neighbor as I was leaving. She'd been in her house for 28 years, so she would have lived there when I was a girl - we didn't remember each other. But, we did have a nice little visit. She thinks the house's owner is the second since I lived there, for some reason, I think it's the first. It doesn't really much matter. The girl I was, the woman I am, the person I am becoming started there.