Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The House That Built Amy

I live in the same house in my dreams.  It doesn't matter if I am dreaming about something from my childhood, something that happened that day, or some crazy make believe scenario my brain has conjured up.  It isn't some mansion on the hill that my mind will not let go of, it is a 70s tri-level home in rural northern Indiana that seems to have defined my life. 

Miranda Lambert is on the cover of Redbook magazine this month and she recently won a Grammy award for Best Female Country Performance for her song "The House That Built Me." It became Lambert's first number one single on the Billboard chart.  The song was written by Tom Douglas and Allen Shamblin and I can't help but cry every time I hear it.  That's what I love about country music.  I can make such a connection to a song that it brings me to tears. 

I was brought home from the hospital in that brown and yellow tri-level that my parents had just bought brand new.  It had 4 bedrooms and 1 3/4 baths.  It was an  upgrade from the 2 bedroom house my parents moved from, seeing as how I was their 4th child! 

So many memories were made in that house.  And I have so many memories of it.  I can tour that house in my mind in full detail.  I remember the foyer as you first walked in with a closet to the right and a black railing to the left.  If you stepped up, the staircase leading to the upper and lower levels was on the right and the living room was to the left.  The kitchen was straight ahead.  We had a brown refrigerator and range for the longest time and I can remember the DIY project my mom did on the kitchen back splash.  She mortared fake bricks under the cabinets and onto the bar area leading into the dinning room.  You know, those same fake bricks we all now cringe over?


This is the only picture I could find of the House That Built Amy. 
It was from a newspaper dated
 May 27, 1991--the first day our house was officially for sale. 


The living room had orange and red shag carpet and a matching sofa and love seat that we were never allowed to sit on.  The carpet was eventually replaced with a neutral gray color, but the rust colored furniture stayed put.  The downstairs was painted gold and I remember fake brick laminate flooring in the laundry room/extra bath.  We used to come in from the garden and take showers in that bathroom because we could come in easily from the garage and not track dirt all over.  We used to have massive gardens and my mom would can everything.  And I mean everything!  The downstairs 4th bedroom was turned into a pantry and my parents used to pickle cucumbers, make sauerkraut, and crank out homemade sausage.  That homemade sausage was made from the pigs we used to keep in the backyard next the the massive garden. 

Upstairs is were we all claimed our own space.  I shared a bedroom with one of my sisters for quite awhile.  We had a pink room, including pink carpeting, and matching white twin beds.  I remember that she once put duck tape on the floor and told me that I couldn't cross the line because "this was her side of the room."  It was also the side with the door, so it was her way of trying to keep me out.  She was six years older than me, so I guess I can't blame her for wanting some space. 

When our older sister left for college, I moved into her room.  It was smaller, but a beautiful purple color, including dark purple carpeting.  Everything showed up on that carpet and it seems like we were always vacuuming it.  I would soon plaster the closet doors with posters as well as the entrance to the attic.  That is also the room where I spent hours singing to country songs at the top of my lungs and recording myself talking into a tape recorder for hours.

In the song, Miranda visits the "house" in an attempt to find herself again.  I often wish I had the courage to walk up to my old home and ask the current owners if I could take a look around.  Part of the fear comes out of asking such a thing, but mostly I fear what I would find.  I don't think I want a different image in my mind, I mean after all, it is MY house, I don't think I would take it well to see it changed and modernized. 

I hope that the home I now live in will hold such wonderful memories for my children.  While it isn't my dream home, it is the home where I dream--I only hope my kids will dream of it one day.

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