home again, in my parents' crazy house, my siblings ricocheting around me. we're growing up: my sister is off to college this fall, my brother is six-foot-three, my mother is having a biospy on thursday, my dad just turned 49 on tuesday (happy birthday dad!), and we're putting my dog down, the last pet left from my childhood. we got her as a few-year-old just-past puppy when i was in kindergarten. she's old, and i can't imagine this house without her.
when i was little, when we first moved here, this was a three-bedroom
, one-bath "fixer-upper"
in the cheapest neighborhood in town. we were three screaming kids, my mom was a dog trainer, and my dad worked for a sucession of other people doing more or less what he does now, but for not very much money. there were two big dogs, my cat, a rat, and two parakeets, a menagerie to which eventually we added another dog (twice), various lizards, snakes, fish, new parakeets and rats, and once a horse. we remodeled the bathroom, the kitchen, the bathroom, the basement, and then eventually the house pretty much whole. most of the neighborhood helped up build the deck out front.
what i remember most strongly about this house is a sense of fullness: one of us kids almost always had friends over, the dogs were always running around, the neighbors would drop over for dinner or to complain about baseballs through windows or water balloons or noise, and the neighborhood kids would rove from house to house until we found something to eat, which almost always happened here. it was a house of movement and noise.
it won't be long now until all three of us are off to somewhere, and as far as pets go, we're down to two cats and a blind toy poodle. not much boisterousness to be had there. the house is a lot bigger than it used to be, which was good where there were three teenagers living here; it'll be a lot of empty when we're all gone. and while i'm sure my parents have all sorts of grand plans for when they no longer have kids to look after, to be honest, i can't even picture this house empty. i don't know what they'll do to fill it up, but they'll have to figure out something.