Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The houses I've called home

This is the house I lived in 22 years ago, near Dayton, Ohio. When I left it for good, part of me stayed there and I felt I had died a little. Since then, I've moved in and out of another four houses. Each time I have felt the same: part of me stays behind, anchoring a phase of life that's gone by, with its milestones, happy moments, laughter, miseries, convulsions and breakthroughs. A spectre.
I associate very different memories and emotions with each of the houses I've called home. I've put more love and labour into some than I have into others. I've been happier in some than I have in others. Still, each and every single one of them played a crucial part in my life and will always be a part of me.
My grandmother's house, with its 250 years, its ancient wooden floorboards, ten rooms, enormous kitchen and breathtaking views over Lisbon was the house where my mother was born and raised and where my sisters and I spent most of our childhood (off and on I lived there for thirteen years). It was a very happy home thanks to my parents's love for each other and for their daughters. One of my most vivid memories of this house is the smell of wax freshly applied to the floorboards before a party. Another is the spectacular red sunsets that would occasionally paint the walls and the air of the dining room and of my parents room a deep, bright orange. Yet another is of my baby sisters and of the smell of babies. And yet another is of our birthday parties, with all the family and extended family and enough food to feed an army. I could go on forever ...
My parent's current house, where I lived for seven years after moving out of grandmother's, was the setting for endless days and nights of studying for my college degree and it witnessed a lot of early adulthood dramas. Upon getting my degree and leaving college, I started craving for independence, got a job, got married and left my parent's home to start my own.
The first house my husband and I lived in was small but very cozy. It was high on a 12nd floor with a beautiful view of the river from one of the rooms. We made it into a home with the precious and loving help of our families. We took ages to furnish it and to get all the stuff we needed because we got along fine with very little. This was Ana's first home and one of the places I've been happiest. Unfortunately it was miles away from my job and I would spend hours commuting with Ana asleep in the car beside me. We had to move for the sake of practicality. We lived there for five years (Ana for less than one).
Our second house still lingers a bit in everyone's mind as our home even though it's not anymore. It was Clara's first home and the place where our family grew into what it is now. It was the setting of first steps, first words, first teeth, first scribbles, immense joy and laughter but also of serious illnesses and mighty dramas. Tremendous highs and tremendous lows. It was a beautiful house, sunny and bright, perfect for us. We lived there for eight years (Clara for four). It's exactly 10 years today since we moved in.
Now I'm rebuilding our home elsewhere. It will be the best ever. I have all the ingredients.

1 comment:

Mãe said...

Adorei relembrar isto tudo! Que bom que é aqui estar escrito e eu poder cá voltar quando a memória me pregar partidas...