The House That Built Me
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The House That Built Me

You can go home again

The House That Built Me
Lacy Parmenter

Most of the people I know have lived in their houses from birth. I come from a family that has wanderlust, so I’ve lived in a total of 12 houses (that includes a dorm). I still have a lot of memories at my first house, though: the first address I ever had and still consider home. It’s the backdrop of many of my firsts.

I learned how to walk in that house. I had my first words in that house. The backyard was my sanctuary in warm weather and where I got my first bee sting. I helped bake cookies with my mom in that kitchen. Pretended that I was a great helper for my dad when it came to the landscape of the house. And most importantly, it’s the house that helped build me and my best childhood memories.

My family still has ties to the small rural town. So every summer we visit, catch up with old friends, and revisit all of our favorite spots. Some being the children’s museum, the best seafood restaurant, the beach, and of course 509 Stockdale Circle.

Every time we visit, my last request is to drive by the house before we leave.

Well as I get older, my curiosity grows.

The Miranda Lambert song, The House That Built Me, has always rang true to me. I’ve always thought, What if I can be the girl in the song?! How would I feel going to knock on the door of my first house? Would the new homeowner let me in? What if??

Well, I finally had the courage after all these years to go knock on the door this past visit.

As we were leaving, I asked the usual request, “Mom, can we drive by the old house?” She said yes, like always. A few minutes go by, “We’re going to the door this time, and I’m not taking no for an answer,” I said. My mom’s eyes filled with a look of “Are you crazy?”

We pulled in, and I hopped right out of the car. We went to the front steps where I had countless pictures taken and we rang the doorbell and waited.

No answer…

We rang the doorbell 2 more times, and nothing. As I stood at the door, I noticed the plaque with the house number my family had put up. The steps that were the cause of many scrapped shins. The walkway I raced down to catch the ice cream truck. With no movement inside, I was disappointed to say the least, but proud that I had finally decided to give it a try. I shut my door and start to buckle up as an older women comes from the backyard. I thought to myself, “There’s still a chance!”

We got out and introduced ourselves. We shared that we were the original owners and had put that house up, and planted all the trees and the lilac bushes. I showed her an old picture of my brother and I sitting on the front steps just to give her some comfort that we weren’t criminals that prey on senior citizens.

A few minutes went by and we shared a few laughs and memories. Then the big question was asked… “Can we go inside?” An awkward silence came over us, and she pondered. Her ultimate answer was yes! I couldn’t believe it! I was finally going to back into my first house, this was honestly like a scene from a movie.

I walked onto the back deck, which my dad originally built. I opened the backdoor and I walked back into 1998. Nothing had been changed! I couldn’t believe it. The same wallpaper, carpet, kitchen cabinets, and the peg board my dad built for my mom was still on a wall in the kitchen. It was like the house had waited for me to return. I walked down the hallway to my old room. It was still the same shade of lavender as I remember. It was such a surreal moment.

They say you can’t go back, but for a few moments I revisited the little girl whose boundaries didn’t exceed the lilac bushes on the corner. I saw the closet that housed bedtime monsters, and remembered the monster repellent aka Lysol spray can that that gave me the power to exorcise those monsters. This room, this house, these memories empowered me in much the same way the monster repellent did.

I feel so fortunate to have had this opportunity. Lately we live in a society of hate, and distrust one another. So it’s heartwarming to me that the only thing that connected me to this stranger was the home and she welcomed me in like I was one of her own. Maybe she too has heard Miranda Lambert’s song, and understood this motivation for me. Maybe you really can go home again.

“If I could just come in I swear I’ll leave. Won’t take nothing but a memory, from the house that built me.” –Miranda Lambert, The House That Built Me.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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