I haven't been to my hometown in about eight years. I don't really feel bad about it. I didn't graduate from high school there; I went to a residential high school hours away. My parents haven't lived there since my freshman year of college. I have a few friends there, but I usually meet up with them elsewhere. I guess I just don't have much of an emotional attachment to my hometown, and it's not a big deal to me.
The one thing I've always missed about my hometown, however, is my house. My parents worked years and years to turn the house into a "home" - my Mom always had wonderful ideas for each room, and she and Dad turned those ideas into a beautiful, unique combination of rooms. The dining room was my favorite - the walls were painted with a stencil pattern that Mom created. My parents planted trees throughout the yard, which made it look like a little park, and every year we picked pears from one of the trees. It was a lovely home, full of love and laughter, and I have nothing but happy memories there.
My best friend lived down the street from me back in the day. God bless her - she's such a wonderful, fun person, and she's probably the reason I was able to make it through those awkward junior high years with minimal emotional scarring. Anyway, we're still friends, and she texted me a picture the other day with the caption "Sad."
She wasn't kidding.
The picture was of my childhood home with a "FOR SALE" sign in front. The garage doors were boarded up. The tree my parents had planted in the front yard was chopped down. The flower beds my mom had worked so hard on were gone. The grass was dead. When I saw that picture, it was the first time I'd gotten emotional about my hometown since moving away. I'm angry that anyone would ruin the house my parents worked so diligently on to turn into a home. And I'm sad.
However, though I am sad, I am very thankful. My parents did such a wonderful job of giving me a happy childhood, and the reason I am so attached to that beautiful home is the memories. Dad played the banjo in the living room while I danced. Mom and I whipped up some fabulous chocolatey desserts in the kitchen. And one time, Mom and Dad let me have a drink in the dining room that I specially requested - a combination of milk, orange juice, and water. Actually, I remember that tasting pretty nasty, but it seemed like a good idea at the time, and Mom and Dad were nice enough to play along.
Anyway, I just want to say thank you, Mom and Dad. Thank you for turning that house into a home that I will always love and remember. I'll always have happy memories there because of your love.