Monday, January 2, 2012

Going "Home"

While we were visiting Abuelita and Nonno over Christmas break, Abuelita and I took Liv and Andrew on a special adventure. We were invited to take a tour of our old house, where my siblings and I spent some time growing up. Back in the '90s, when my parents moved (a few years after I'd graduated from college), they ended up actually selling the house to a colleague of my dad's. This colleague, his wife (Dr. and Mrs. R), and their two kids still live there . . . okay, he and his wife still live there. Their kids have moved on to start their own lives with their own families.

Here's a view from the front yard, circa early '80s, when we lived there. The house was actually built in the 1940s!

Anyway, I run into Mrs. R (and rarely, Dr. R) every so often. And each time, Mrs. R invites me to come over and see the house. But it's usually the day before I'm heading back to wherever it is that I'm living (typically, back when I was still active duty and a plane ride away), so the tour never happens. Well, this time, my mom talked to Mrs. R before our visit this time, and they arranged for us to go visit during Christmas break.

This house was always really drafty in the autumn and winter, and my dad never set the thermostat to something the rest of us were comfortable with, telling us to wear sweaters if we were so cold. (Sounds very father-like, right?!)

Well, when we got to the house, the first thing we noticed was that Mrs. R had installed a wood-burning oven in the "breakfast room" (where we ate all our meals) adjacent to the kitchen. It smelled wonderful, and it was comfortably warm! And there was another one in a sun room on the other side of the house, delightfully radiating comfortable heat.

As we walked around the house, I thoroughly enjoyed all the changes she'd made, but realized that in my mind, "legend" had made each room seem larger in my memory than it had apparently been in real life. The den, for example, seemed a bit smaller as I stood there the other day, then it had in my memories.

At one point, while looking around the den, I was suddenly awash with missing my Uncle Hector, since this was the room where he'd fallen off the treadmill mid-run, only to look at me and say, "Oops," sheepish grin plastering his face, before he got back on and continued his workout.

Nevertheless, it was a lot of fun looking around, reminiscing, marveling at the wonderfully cozy changes, and sharing family history with Andrew and Livie.

But the most fun for Livie was what Mrs. R had outside - a chicken coop, chickens (obviously), and miniature horses! And Mrs. R even let Livie pick a few eggs to take home (which she ate for breakfast the next day, while still at Abuelita's).

Here's the photo tour of the "companions" we never had:
She got to touch a chicken!

She actually picked the two she's holding from directly underneath the chickens. And they were still warm! This little fact freaked Abuelita out! Hahaha!

Here's one of the chickens. I love the coloring! We saw some of these at the 2011 Iowa State Fair, by the way.

Some are outside. The "flags" are to keep the hawks away. Apparently, some time before Mrs. R put these flags out, 4 chickens had become hawks' lunches.

Liv's meeting the  two resident miniature horses.

Abuelita is petting them! (Livie is eating a snack. Lucky for us, I'd had a granola bar in my bag, for just such a moment when Livie became famished.)

I'd always wanted to have a horse on that property, but my dad always said no. One time, he'd told me it was because the city wouldn't allow livestock on the property (but I guess that was just a way to say "no" without saying "no" for the millionth time). 

When we got home, Livie showed her eggs to Oma.

One was definitely brown, two were very pale "brown" and one was a kind of pale blue-gray.

She picked the two she wanted for breakfast (the two itty bitty ones).

She said they were really tasty!
Anyway, it was such a fun adventure. I really enjoyed recalling all those old memories, while seeing all the great new changes Mrs. R had made. And Livie and Andrew got to see a bit of history.


Teresa said...

What a fun trip down memory lane...and what a beautiful home! So nice to be able to reminisce.

Jill said...

How special to go "back home" and to be able to take your daughter with you!

Poor Uncle Hector! I couldn't help but giggle.

TexWisGirl said...

that is wonderful! i had the opportunity to walk thru my childhood home in Wis (after we moved, it remained empty until it was finally torn down). the farmer gave me permission to go thru it one time when i visited, and yes, each room seemed tiny than my child-sized memory.

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

What a very fun time! Love that she gathered eggs :-)

besoterio said...

Sounds wonderful. Thanks for sharing your story.

Randy said...

That is awesome. What a wonderful home.

Nancy @ A Rural Journal said...

What a big, beautiful home you grew up in, Sonya. I love it!

And how special for Livie to gather eggs. She's so cute! :)

Sandy said...

This home sounds like heaven to have grown up in. I bet Livie will not forget this experience. Miniature horses? Wow! how neat! =)

Christine said...

What a beautiful home and how nice to have the chance to visit and rekindle some wonderful memories. I bet those eggs were the best she's ever had! :)

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