Mom and I were watching The Voice the other night. Mom loves music and so this seemed a good choice. Dia Frampton, the girl left from Blake Sheldon’s team was getting ready to sing with Miranda Lambert. First off, I will say I like some country music but I usually listen to other types of music first. Miranda starting singing about going up to a house and saying to the person who answered the door that this house used to be her house. Those handprints by the steps were hers.
I know you country fans are wondering how I never heard this song but the radio in my old car did not usually work so we would listen to CD’s. I had seen a reference on Facebook from my cousin’s daughter when she had a shot of her grandparent’s house and the caption read, The House That Built Me.
As I was listening, I was tearing up because in the fall my family went back to the house that our dad built for us. We were leaving the funeral of my uncle and my brother told us he had arranged for us to go to the house we had grown up in. My mother had sold the house when us kids were in our twenties. When the farm had been sold some 20 years later we had occasionally driven by the lane but the house was now owned by a business who were using it as their office. Now they were getting ready to sell it. I really cannot tell you how excited we were. We were all dressed up and now we were going home.
My dad was a carpenter contractor and he built that house. He and mom put a lot of hours into it. I remember riding up the lane and seeing the foundation being dug and helping mom one time when she was working on something when just the concrete bricks were laid for the basement. She needed a place to put what she was holding and I suggested the hole where the window was going. She was so affirming and later I wondered if she really needed my advice but she did listen to me and put it there. I remember when the flooring was put in and there was a big hole where the cellar steps would be and I was told to stay away from it. That wasn’t a problem as I was afraid of heights and did not want to fall down to the basement. I remember Mom driving us kids up the lane and then us playing in the living room. I remember after Dad had put in these beautiful extra wide window sills that I experimented with a nail. I was fascinated how you could follow the grain of the wood. Interesting that I did that in the girls’ bedroom and though the sills were sanded you could always see what I had done.
When I was 6 years old, we moved in. I missed the actual moving in day because my godmother took me to Tennessee. It was strange coming back into a new house but I loved it. It was the only house my youngest sister ever knew as she was born the fall after we moved in. Oh the memories! Fast forward 10 years and dad died of a brain tumor. He left a wife and four children, all under 16 who continued to live in that house for the next 10 years.
When we arrived at the house and got out of the car I walked up and saw the chimney and started crying. We had taken many a photo by it. There had been a rose bush trellised there, but no more. We walked in the front door and saw the living room fireplace. It was special, made of flagstone. Here I had put my brother in the fireplace with his brand new snowsuit on when he was two or three years old and we were still building the house. Thankfully the fire was not going at the time. Needless to say, I got in lots of trouble! Here also we sat around cooking hotdogs during the worst storm of the 60’s and we had no electricity. Here we hung our Christmas stockings that mom made for us. Here we sat and read by many a crackling fire. We stood around admiring the work and took pictures of us all grown up now, in front of the fireplace.
My brother was so excited that at least one of his children was there to see the house. My younger sister also had her son with her and as they went through the house, the parents were telling stories. Mom was with us but she did not really understand what was going on and that made it all the more poignant for us.
We looked in every cupboard, as if something would be left. However, it was amazing that it had the same oven, the same countertops. We walked around and told stories, we laughed and some of us cried. Outside there were the same trees we played around and one we had planted and carried buckets of water to for weeks. I saw the same flowers and mint mom had planted. And yes, I got some which I planted, nourished and gave to my siblings at Easter.
When Miranda Lambert sang about handprints, we had done that when dad added on to the back porch a few years after we had lived there. The funny thing is when the business took over the house they knocked that back porch down and my brother-in-law happened to be down that neck of the woods and drove back the lane to the house. He saw the concrete and went over and there were the cement blocks, not damaged, with our handprints on them. He knocked on the door and explained who he was and if he could take the blocks. He had them cut in half and presented them to us for Christmas. There were quite a few tears that Christmas, and many stories.
Dad built that house that became our home and in a sense that did build me. I am very thankful for that home and for the wonderful memories I have of it. My family who lived there with me had so much to do with who I am today and God richly blessed me. In Scripture, place is important. God told them to leave Egypt and go and make a home in Israel. Yet, I also know that our life on this earth is temporary and where we are going is beyond our imagination and we will not miss this “home”.
What kind of memories are you creating for your family in your home?