A Dream Come True. . . Mostly

Posted by on Dec 10, 2015 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts |

A Dream Come True. . . Mostly

Most of us have ONE place we think of when we are asked where we grew up. For some people, like my husband that place is still home since we live in the house he was born to and grew up in. It is really an awesome thing.

For a preacher’s kid, I think I had a fairly stable childhood. I look at North Platte, Nebraska as my place, even though we only lived in that house 6 ½ years. It was the most consequential 6 ½ years of my life, by far, and when you are in grade school time does pass slower, doesn’t it?

1969 12a Christmas

Have you ever gone back to your childhood home? I did last month and it was a dream come true. . . mostly!

Because the next book in my Double Cousins Mystery series will be set in North Platte, we planned a side-trip through Nebraska on the way home. We pulled into North Platte about noon and the first place we stopped was the park, simply because we passed right by it on our way into town. There were three specific memories that popped into my head when we were there. First, were the peacocks. I loved seeing the males showing off all of their gorgeous colors. The peacocks were too far away for me to get pictures, but just the sight of them across the park sent the memory-picture shooting through my head. Memories are great that way.

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The second thing I remembered was the carousel and the cotton candy. Of course, in November there wasn’t any action there, but once again, just the location brought back all of the sounds, smells, and sights of an afternoon at the park. We stopped and I pointed out the area where I remember having church picnics. Picnics where the women threw rolling pins, the kids had gunny sack races, and the men. . . I don’t remember what the men did. Any childhood friends remember?

After that, we drove around town a bit and then ate at Wendy’s. That part of town has changed so much I didn’t recognize anything. Even the big old hospital appears to be gone. It was kind of sad. But, we forged onward to the part I was most looking forward to.

That morning as I was waking up, I had one of those dreams. The ones where you are half awake, half sleeping. I thought, “What if when we get to my childhood home it is for sale and I can go inside and see what it looks like?” Then the dream part started, because I bought it. Believe me; I do not need to buy a house in Nebraska!

House

So, when we pulled up to the house and I saw the for sale sign (FOR REAL-NO KIDDING) I was a little taken-aback. Whoa! We parked beside the house. There was much activity going on. A man was blowing the leaves from the side yard. Another man was in the back yard. The garage door was open.

I knew this was the right house even though it looks quite different. When we were there a few years ago, we found they had raised part of the roof and put in a dormer section. They also put a wrap-around porch on it which is my favorite change. Anyway, my heart was in my throat. Would I be able to get in to see the inside, like I had “dreamed”?

We walked down through the alley and around the other side of the block while I got up my courage. We took a picture of the building where my parents started Riverside Baptist Church.1969 05a Easter

I even had Bruce take a very flattering (sigh) picture of me trying to reenact a frequent action—sliding between the pillars on the porch. Guess I was smaller when I was ten.Miriam trying to fit between pillars

As we walked back by the house, I caught the eye of the man in the back yard. I stopped and waited and he came over to the fence. (It used to be a hedge-I like the fence better.)

When I told him I had grown up in the house, he offered to let me look around! Wahoo! Should I tell him about my dream? Probably not.

So, look around we did. The bones were the same, except for the raised roof, but they added two bathrooms and a main floor laundry area. I wasn’t impressed that they took out the built in shelves in the dining room and the etched glass window in the front door. But, that’s life. Things change, don’t they?

I stood in the spot where my mother left her earthly body when she graduated to heaven, and unlike I had imagined in my “dream” there was no sadness there. It is just a place. She is not there. She is risen.

I stood at the bottom of the stairs and remembered the morning of my mother’s funeral when I overheard Grandpa McKnight telling Daddy that it didn’t matter what happened, he would always be their son. A gift to me.

I remembered my older sister insisting we needed to knock on the walls in the closet on the stairs because there might be a secret passageway.

I remembered sitting at the dining room table with our new mom, doing crafts, working on fractions, building new relationships.

upstairs, front bedroom unchanged

What fun it was to see my bedroom unchanged, unlike the rest of the upstairs. They had widened the room at the top of the stairs. You had to go through that room to get my bedroom in our day, and my older sister used to do everything but charge me money to allow me through. Now there is a sitting area with a fireplace and a room with a door! Wow. No opportunities for sisters to “work it out” there!

As we left, I told my husband. It’s a good thing I don’t have the money or I’d be tempted to buy a house in North Platte. One I have no use for.

Even though my “dream” didn’t come true completely, I’m thankful for the opportunity to go back. I have many wonderful memories in that house. I intend to use the house for Carly’s home in the next Double Cousin book. I’ll be able to keep the house how I want to remember it, but add a few of the new things—like extra bathrooms.

Visiting helped me remember just how it was, and see how it is now. I guess it’s part of growing up, putting the past in proper perspective, and coming to grips with the changes.

Yep, it’s good to go back sometimes. . . as long as we don’t get stuck there. Or buy a house we don’t need!