Late at night when I can’t sleep I wander through rooms of memories in my mind. Rooms from special homes from long ago that are, sadly, only available now in my memories. And in my heart.
I’ve walked around my mother’s huge front porch that I loved so much so very many times in my mind, I could have worn a hole in its faded red concrete floor. In my dreams, sometimes my mom is even sitting out there with me, talking with me as clearly as if she were still alive.
I’ve been a little girl again, playing in my little-girl room in my mother’s house with its pink walls and white ruffled curtains, and that special handmade canopy doll bed with its pink dotted Swiss canopy and white satin bedspread sitting in front of the window. The other furniture is long gone, but that beautiful doll bed, the last piece of furniture my father made before he died, is sitting in our storage room waiting for me to make new bedclothes for it when our granddaughter is old enough to play with it.
I’ve journeyed through my mother’s attic many times in my mind, exploring and discovering things that most likely never existed, but yet I always longed to find, such as love letters between her and my dad, and diaries she’d written as a young teenager. I could see them, feel them in my hand, even open the pages and see the words written in familiar handwriting, but couldn’t make it out before the dream ended.
I’ve also had the pleasure of once again walking through my grandparents’ old home which I last walked through some fifty+ years ago, when I was only about ten or eleven.
I’ve walked around her kitchen, with its big wood stove that produced so many wonderful baked treats, and sat once again at her red Formica table with its matching chairs with the plastic covered seats, eating a slice of wood-oven toasted bread drenched with fresh cream butter…a delight we always had to have when we visited.
I’ve explored my grandmother’s attic again as well, carefully walking up those dark and very narrow steep stairs to find a treasure of old antique toys and Christmas ornaments, carefully packed away in boxes so old they almost fell apart when we brought them downstairs. I’ve gently placed my grandmother’s doll in her old doll stroller and pushed it around the attic floor, avoiding other boxes that were just waiting for my curious little girl self to open.
I’ve wandered into one of my favorite rooms at my grandmother’s house, her sun porch, with its brown wicker chairs and her old treadle sewing machine. It overlooked her little flower garden of sweet peas and “pinks”, small pink flowers more commonly known as dianthus. I’ve sat in those chairs and admired the view in the late afternoon sun.
But those rooms only exist now in my heart. My grandmother’s house was destroyed in a fire some 20+ years ago. I remember hearing about it from my mom and aunt right after it happened, and even though it had been sold probably some 25 years before, they still thought of it as the “home place.”
And I sold my mother’s house almost ten years ago, and not without buckets of tears. That was my “home place” and I still look at it with a special longing when we visit the area and drive by. It looks somewhat different around the yard, but the house still sits there and calls me by name, evoking memories and a nostalgia that it’s hard to put into words.
Our memories remember things that sometimes never really were. Or never really were exactly the same way as we remembered them. But the memories we keep in our heart are the ones most special to us.
Unfortunately sometimes we twist our memories to become things that never really were. Homes become bigger and more beautiful than they were. Lost relationships become far more perfect than they ever could have been. We forget the cracks and imperfections, making everything perfect in our minds. And if we get the chance to actually relive those memories, like walking through your childhood home now that someone else lives there, or meeting up with an old boyfriend or girlfriend you thought at the time you’d marry and spend your entire life with, you discover that your memories are far, far better than the reality of today.
Our memories of today’s events will become that way as well. We tend to remember things as we wanted them to be, and not as they really were. It’s sometimes easier that way.
Because sometimes in our memories, we can change the outcomes and rewrite the pages as we wish they’d been. We may not even recognize them as they actually occurred.
What memories do you have that you cherish? Write them down, and share them with others. One day, those precious memories may only be living on the pages of your journal.