My Town of Home

{my boys in front of my little girl home:  Estill Springs, TN}

People are parts of places to me. Put together like a collage of clippings from life's big ole magazine of memories. Some of us are raised in metropolis sized cities and some in just tee tiny specks on the map.  Regardless of population, popularity or per capita, your town of home leaves you with a little more of you along the way.

Dad and Mom moved to this home you see above in 1977 from Colorado Springs, CO when I was just a year old.  The house was originally a tawny chocolate brown color with darker brown shutters.  Time spent here gave life to a back yard shed built by Dad for his tools, a garden with a special strawberry patch just for me and a little brother, Adam Patrick.  Dad planted every tree in this yard.  They were free trees given out for an Arbor Day Celebration.  It evolved from a tawny brown to a light robin's egg blue thanks to the eighties and Dad's paint spray gun.  I can still remember the nasally monotonous motor of that gun as he painted the whole house by himself.  Eventually, Dad would add on a new and bigger kitchen where the carport was along with a laundry room.  For my Mom's master's graduation gift, he added on a screen porch too.  And, it can not go undocumented that my brother and I had the coolest tree house piggy backed onto Dad's shed in the back.

My room had 2 windows.  The one you see below and then another just above the heat pump and around the corner.  That heat pump was the birth place of my all time favorite dog, Pup.  His mother was a mange infested stray and on Christmas Eve in the snow, decided that the crutch of our heat pump was just the place to deliver 12 puppies.  Dad's shed with a Kerosene heater became their home.  Vet bills and lotsa puppy love later left us all with 11 eventual free giveaways and my Pup, the leftover.  Black wirey fur and a devotion like no other to the protection of Adam and me, Pup will go down as one fine dog forever. He would ride on our sleds in the snow with us down the hill behind our house.  He would ice skate on the  tiny back pond too. The tree just to the right in this image was my climbing tree.  I loved how down-to-a-science I had my ascent; each knot and perfectly placed limb was like magic.  
And, if our one acre of home tucked neatly into the coolest cul-de-sac for bike races and general loitering on wheels wasn't cool enough, we could walk to school.  Mom taught at Rock Creek Elementary all of my life.  She was one of the three 6th grade teachers.  Mr. Limbaugh and Mrs. Shasteen were her grade level counterparts.  Yep, in warmer weather and in the event we weren't running behind {I am certain you know by now the story of Caseys and time, right?}, you would see Mom, Adam and I hot footing it to our school house just up the street.  I loved when we got the chance to walk to school.
Mom's classroom was her haven.  Her home away from home.  Ours too for that matter.  It was quite often you would drive by only to see her outside door propped open for some sunshine in during the school day.  Many of late afternoons and weekends were spent in her room and in the gym too.  She was the Rock Creek Lady Rockets Girls' Basketball Coach.  She took great pride in this honor.  She and Dad worked so much on making the gymnasium a great place to play, moreover, her room a wonderful space for learning to commence.
Summers were spent at our special place, UTSI beach.  Dad worked at the institute as an environmental planner.  At least 3-4 times a week, you could find us there.  
Mom would pack hot dogs and chips along with a the red/white pump cooler of hot Crystal Light lemonade and we were off.  Adam, my cousins, Aaron & Bryan, my Aunt Sharon, Ms. Bandy along with Ryan & Nathan were our swim mates on most occasions.  It was before sunscreen was a big deal. 
Mom, Ms. Bandy and Aunt Sharon would sit & glisten in the sun chatting about the whoas and wows of Franklin County education while the kids swam like mad dogs.  Shallow end or just past the rope and over the sunken sand bags into the deep end, it mattered not.  We were fish and free. Ms. Bandy taught me to dive on the dock there.  Once Dad's work was through, he would run home in the truck to change into his swim trunks, grab a bottle of Ivory soap and our dogs, Maggie & Pup.

Dad would whip into the parking lot, let the dogs out of the back truck bed and head into the water for some evening laps.  Maggie and Pup would go buck wild fetching sticks and sniffing geese goo in the sand.  The nearby pavilion's grill would be started and evening splashing was still in full effect until time to be called to eat.

There is something sacred about eating with a towel wrapped around you on a wooden picnic table. The sun would be sinking low and neon orange.  Hot dogs would be inhaled only to hit the water one last time.  This time with the Ivory soap in hand.

A few more rounds of fetching drift wood sticks for the dogs and then it was bath time.  FOR ALL OF US. Dad would squirt the dogs first.  Adam and I would scrub and rub their fur with all our might.  It was all with good intentions only to be ruined by sand rolls.  Then it was our turn for some Ivory suds.  Bathing suits on, we scrubbed ourselves in lake water. Yep, lake water.  Good summertime parental intentions were involved I am sure.

This lake is so much of me.  It's hard to even put into words.  The load up & ride home would never disappoint.  Maggie, Pup, Adam and me capacitated Dad's two-tone red & cream F150 truck bed.  Tongues flapping and towels for tents, our ride home would be.  Every now and again, Dad would make a pit stop at Speedy Sac for gas.  Chocolate Yohoos in glass bottles were a special treat for the remaining 2 miles home.

My big ole collage of life begins here.  The clippings are preciously preserved from my one stop light map dot. Each visit back through the years reminds me a little more of who I am.  And, each investment on the highway home has not always been easy to make.  Memories are bittersweet and nestled in our hearts of hurt and happy.  But, this collage is mine.  It brings me great heaps of pride to share my town of home with my boys as they grow.  I hope to impress upon them that home is you and you are home. Make the most of your scissors and your clipped out selections, boys.  37330 has done just this for me.

.mac :)

{week 24: my 2 in 52}