Just Looking Around: part 2Submitted by FALLEN at 2010-05-06 11:04:56 EDT
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Leaving the shelf of glass knick knacks, I step into the dining room.
The table in the center of the room was the heart of this house when I was a kid. My parents loved to entertain and any holiday or special occasion, this table would be filled with food and friends. My involvement in the parties here was minimal as a child so as such my memories continued to shift to the times of doing home work or working on a model.
I pause here to watch memories of a young me assemble a model of R2-D2 I got for Easter, it stood about ten inches high and had the third foot that came out of the bottom and a door that had a movable arm. It was the arm that R2 would use to access computers and such. The opposite end of the table would find me playing with Lego’s or electric race cars or my HO scale train set emblazoned with red white and blue “Spirit of ‘76”, the Bicentennial was a big deal.
I let the visions of me fade leaving only an empty table as I look about the room. On the half wall below the glass menagerie was a dark wood credenza. Its drawers held many things from playing cards to photo albums. My attention is drawn to the door on the right side, there are shelves inside. Among other things there is an ice bucket with tongs, like from a bar and a music box that played the Anniversary Waltz when the lid was opened. Why these stand out in my memories I can only guess.
To the left of the credenza is a mirror, one of many that could be found here as they made the modest size house seem much larger, and to the left of it was a bird cage. Messy pets were never liked in the house of my youth; Mom hated the mess, so I had an aquarium and random hamsters, and these two birds. Two Zebra Finches, a mated pair, named Adam and Eve, lived here. They would spend their days chirping complimentary to one another until the cage was covered for the night. They would be quiet then till the morning, amazing pets that you could conveniently turn off like a switch. They survived the time my mother in an attempt to clean the cage, vacuumed one of them up. None the worse for wear after being removed from the hose, poor thing. They lived till old age took them first one then shortly after the other unable to go on alone I assumed.
I walked past the doorway to the room on the left for now and also past the large china cabinet that held plates and silverwear that despite all the parties were never used.
The large arched opening across from where I entered the dining room led to the living room.
My memories of this room change continuously from my distant childhood to how it looked before my fathers death, as I walk in there is the large oversized chair and ottoman that defies you to sit in it and not drift to sleep. Seconds later the chair is replaced with visions of the Christmas tree that called the corner home. Beneath the tree are presents, all labeled with other peoples names, all mine truth be told. I was the youngest child and the only one living home. I recall lying on my stomach and carefully peeling back the wrapping to see what “Santa” would be bringing before re-taping and removing any trace of my spying.
This room was at one time two; the wall was removed shortly after moving in. I could be no older than five years old but I remember helping to remove nails and lath from the wall. For years my father would proudly tell anyone that would listen of how I helped, reaching as high as I could, and then standing on a step stool to reach even more. I pulled a piece off the wall and examined how the plaster would ooze through the lath, troweled smooth on the finish side but lumpy and frozen in time as it set on the back. The smell of the dust and old wood trapped in the walls stay with me even today.
The wall is gone now, the plaster replaced with gypsum painted a beige color and I am standing near the sofa. On this wall are three large mirrors, placed for the same reason as the one in the dining room, to enlarge the size. Between them are two wrought iron candle holders each with a large glass candle. These came from my school back in sixth grade we sold them to fund raise for a field trip somewhere. Now schools sell candy or magazines but back then children used to peddle substantial things like this. The glass is close to a foot long, a dark reddish amber color with a subtle floral print and the holders are an ornate scroll work of black iron. I remove a candle and place it to my nose. The scent of spiced berry wax is strong here in my memory and even now as the real candles hang on the wall of my mother’s new house the scent though greatly diminished is still there some thirty years later. Looking down at the wick it is blackened and curled from the only time flame had touched it, lit with a piece of spaghetti as a match wouldn’t reach, the two gave a soft glow and filled the room with the scent. Only for a few minutes.
The candles were lit once and then never again.