Saturday, August 3, 2013

MTTMB Series: ''A Picture I Don't Like to Look at''

While working today, two songs came on the store Pandora station in succession. I knew it was time to write this blog out, a story only told to a few people and buried away in my heart. There have been bits and pieces shared here and there but not the full story.

Growing up, we moved around a lot. I never really had a childhood home that I remember aside from the homes of my grandparents. Monday thru Friday at my Gramie's house and weekends at my Grandma and Grandpa Brown's even before my parents divorce.  Those were the places I called home in my heart and head. My mom inherited my Gramie's house, so I still can go home which is a wonderful feeling.

In 2006, my Grandparents Brownie and Betty, died eight weeks to the day apart. It was a unbelievable time of loss for our family. Their home in Whittier,CA was the center of our family life. We spent summers swimming in their pool, eating giant family dinners at the two custom picnic tables in the backyard, we played Kids Inc. in front of their garage, knew the neighbors and lived life there.

One of my favorite lines from a book is from Anne's House of Dreams by L.M. Montgomery,  "When I was a child I heard an old minister say that a house was not a real home until it had been consecrated by a birth, a wedding and a death.''

That home held weddings, bridal showers, christenings, hundreds of birthday parties, swim parties, holidays, new babies, so much life and in the very end, two deaths. Our friends knew the phone number, they could just show up and walk through the door to find Grandma and Gramps at the table in the kitchen. The house was filled with life.

Before the house sold, our family had one last celebration there. We swam, we ate and we reminisced on the happy times.
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Our last family picture on the steps of the Brown family home

The next day, I ''ripped'' the band-aid off as my Aunt Patty said and packed my grandparents bedroom set into a U-Haul to come home with me. I had asked for it and was graciously given the opportunity to have it forever. I packed up their room, put it in the U-Haul and walked out the front door for the last time. As I was walking out of the house, I took a picture

That year Jack Johnson had a hit record, I had been introduce to the album by my cousin Sarah. Our family listened to that album non stop. One of the songs, '' Do you Remember'' was a particular favorite. Marty and I were getting ready to celebrate 10 years of marriage that year and the song was perfect. There is a line in the song, '' I took a picture, I don't like to look at.'' 

That is how I feel about the above picture. I don't like to look at the picture because it makes me sad. I took the picture because I wanted to remember that moment forever. Leaving my childhood ''home'' behind and fully growing up in a hard way. ( even though, we all know my super photographic memory already does! I am a nerd) 

As I walked out, I saw two butterflies playing in the flower bed. It reminded me of a time my grandma and I were out in the backyard together. A butterfly landed on my shoulder,  she exclaimed, '' Oh Julie, that is good luck.'' It is something that always comes to mind when I see a butterfly, I always think of her and that moment. It was just a sign, life was moving forward, Grandma and Gramps were together and happy. I was going to be okay.

I clambered into the U-Haul, Marty was driving which was rare, I turned the radio on and ''What a Wonderful World'' came pouring out of the speakers. My Grandparents loved singing old songs, singers and standards. This was a song they both loved. I started sobbing hysterically as Marty pulled away from the curb, it was a moment only God could have written. I sobbed hysterically for over a hundred miles well over the grapevine. It is a moment, one I really don't like to talk or think about. It was one of the worst days of my life.

Today as those two songs came on back to back, I knew it was time to fully share the story and what a better month than August to share it. Finally time to put it down, get it out and put it to rest. When I would go home to visit in Sourthern California, I would drive by their house on Scott ave., it was pure torture driving by and thinking they were inside waiting to see me.

 A really weird feeling that cannot be put into words. I am so thankful for the wonderful memories, summer always makes me think of days spent there and the happy memories that reside in that home.

What lucky new owners to live in a house with 51 years of a happy family life, five kids raised, fourteen grandkids running through the rooms, two great grandkids that loved the house too. Truly a house consecrated by love.

Two songs that take me back to a really bad day, one I don't like to think about or remember. Finally writing it down and letting it go. Truly music that takes me back.