easing out of the time warp

All I need is rice, to go with this stir fry -- brussels sprouts, onion, eggplant, and cauliflower (salt, pepper, garlic, and not too much else -- keep it simple).

I've got rice. I've also got May. An orange wall. Quiet -- just me'n'Jim in this house, now. And I've got lots of rearranging and putting-back to do, now that one has moved out, another has moved away, and the basement construction is finished as well. Whew.
And I am almost finished my roaming. Next weekend, I am at the Knoxville Children's Festival of Reading (May 22). But this week, I can claim full stop. How about that? Nowhere I must go for an entire week, and a quiet home to recover in, to boot. (Except that right now, this moment, Jim is downstairs with an engaged couple who are chatting about their wedding, while Jim plays possibilities for them on the piano... lots of laughing, down there, lots of lovely music.)

I have spent much of the past day and a half sleeping. Friends want to celebrate May birthdays this evening. I don't think I've got the energy. All I'm up for is watering the plants in the window boxes and communing with my husband.

Truth to tell, finding the house on Coolridge Drive all boarded up (and who knows what had been going on behind those high fences in that backyard -- y'all, I can't even show you the photos of the destruction I found), has really sapped my steam.

As I wrote in the acknowledgements to Countdown, I didn't anticipate the complexity of the time warp I would enter when I wrote the book... I must still be under its spell. The house has shown up in my slumber this past day and a half, and I keep dreaming about things I had forgotten -- like the time I played that "awful rock and roll," for my parents, at their request, so they would decide whether or not they would allow me to play those records in their house (I chose "We Can Work it Out" by the Beatles, a compromise tune if ever there was one) --

I dreamed it as if it were happening right this minute, today, in full color.  I remembered where the couch was, what it looked like, where each of us was standing, how nervous I was, how my father's face looked -- he was not happy... disgusted is a good word, actually... he was going to allow me to play this awful music, and he hated that he was, but I had proved my point, that it was not offensive music, that there was some value to it. It was a turning point.

I dreamed about the day I fell on that driveway and split open my elbow and had to go to Malcolm Grow Hospital at Andrews AFB, for stitches. My mother stayed with me the entire time, until they actually started stitching my elbow, and then she fainted.

I was ready to go home three stitches later, and there was my mother, lying on a gurney, not quite conscious. I saw her every eyelash, in my dream. Heard her say, I'm just fine! and wave off all offers of help to get her home. My dad was on a trip and Mom was also watching a neighbor's kids -- her plate was full; full of the heydey of raising a family.

I woke up realizing I was here, in Atlanta, in my good home with the orange wall, the musical husband, my own child-filled heydays with my own children over, my mother and dad long gone... the house on Coolridge Road needing so much repair that demolition would be kinder, and those days I lived in it, with my family, long gone...

It's complicated.

This feels like a lotta nuthin'. I'll post it anyway. Sometimes a lotta nuthin' is what there is to offer.


  1. Hoo boy, can I relate! I love my Nancy Drew adventures...it's at once exhilarating and liberating to track down my childhood memories/family secrets. But by the time I return home again, I'm usually wrung dry.

    Complicated...yes. Wishing you a week that brings you HOME again, body mind and spirit.

  2. Thank you, Melodye. Wrung dry is a good term for it (although now I've got a sneezing cold and everything is... running. :>)

    Working on your questions now...

  3. So, I think our relationship with our childhood homes is more intimate than any we will ever have again, even our excellent current homes that probably suit us better and represent somewhat the realization of our childhood dreams and the expression of our grown-up selves.

    My mother used to hang me upside down over the hot air grate in the floor to dry my hair (took for freakin' ever) and I would dream of walking on the ceiling and stepping over the tops of the door frames. The pattern of those ugly ceiling tiles is stamped right smack into my soul.

    Our old house is so shabby these days. Drab, with the people and magic sucked out. My mother, as we say, would HAVE A FIT. But that house, MY house, is inside me now. I took it safe away. And you already know that, Deborah. Your dreams are telling you. It's right to be shocked and sad. Right to heal in your own time. And good to be at peace in your memories. I wish you safe home.


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