Sunday, July 31, 2011

I Found my Childhood Yesterday

The house we were evicted from

Yesterday I went to a family friend in Kentucky who was always a constant means of support in times of need (which was almost everyday). After getting evicted from our house on Walters Road all of the family ended up scattered. Ben (my stepdad) and Mom asked for the family's extremely part-time housekeeper to pack their things. They only took THEIR things. None of the 5 kids were considered in the chaotic moving process and almost everything that wasn't snatched was abandoned. That included any connection to my past—or so I thought.

It wasn't until halfway through my visit that my friend had an epiphany. Mid sentence, Sherry caught her breath, pointed to her daughter, Carlee, and said, “I have two boxes of miss Karlee’s. Go upstairs and behind the pony you will find one of her boxes.”  I didn’t want to get my hopes up; after all, there were 5 children and 2 adults living together in that house—what she had in that box could have been anything.  After locating the first box behind oodles and oodles of other boxes, I sat down on the kitchen floor and tore the box apart (not literally). On top of the box sat two containers of hot hair curlers (which were missing most of the pieces), a dirty, old Santa cookie tray, a few minor paintings and a flag that hung outside our house.  Besides my mild amusement with the flag’s ironic statement, "Welcome to the Nut House," there was nothing in the box that I wanted to connect to my past.

Disappointment didn’t sink beneath my skin; it stayed on the surface—I wasn’t about to relieve those unfortunate moments of my childhood. So, if the other box wasn’t recovered, I would be ok with that.  We continued our conversation in the Kitchen for about 20minutes before Sherry said, “Lets go get that other box.”

Following her lead, we walked out their backdoor to the two car garage. Behind the first door sat boxes of tools, boxes of shoes, boxes of books—I didn’t believe she could find my box.  Regardless, I followed Sherry. We had to climb over boxes and push through piles and piles of personal belongings. In the back corner, behind the malformed plywood, school projects and the baby swing, she wiggled out a water-damaged box. Years and years of sitting brought a damp, unfriendly smell to our noses.

It was filled with thousands of pictures. Pictures.

After the eviction, Sherry felt so bad for our situation that she hunted for anything that may of had value to me. It turns out, that she had my whole childhood stashed in her cluttered garage. But it wasn’t just my childhood. It was Ali’s childhood. It was Mac’s childhood. It was Kenton’s childhood. It was Walker’s childhood. It was the connection to our past that could never be separated from our souls—it’s who we are.

Over the course of my stay in Kentucky, I sat in my grandmother’s living room and sorted through pictures. Many of the photos were irreparably damaged; luckily, most of them were not.  Many tears and buried stories surfaced with each of us. The emotional reprocutions from a simple box of pictures was outstanding.

 Thank you, Sherry, from the bottom of my heart. My siblings and I now have a photo album instead of a box.

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