You can go Home again!!


   Everyone always likes to say that you can’t go home again. If you walk down an old dusty country road for a while it gives you time to remember. Such contemplation!  I believe you can go home again even if it is in your heart. You can visualize, open the front door, and turn the light on inside the home of long ago.  I can see a white house across from an elementary school, and a kitchen table with a can of bean dip, corn chips, and Dad.  We were the only two staring at that brown culinary bean dip wonder in a can as  a fresh bag of  opened Frito chips lay on the table. We ate by a strict schedule so any delineation was an event.   Before any treat could be finished, he would always say that we had to save the rest for tomorrow.  He grew up during the Depression so he was always saving something.   Many a left-over Sunday cake was stored  on top of the refrigerator.  Somehow, against the rules of the house, before long it was invisible except for the crumbs. He denied responsibility with a smile.  

     Then there was Easter Sunday with the morning light falling through the odd geometric bold stained glass, and everyone dressed crisp and new as we sang, “One Day.”  The happy sounds rang out from the full small church, and we sounded so much bigger than we really were.  America was between wars, peace seemed a sure promise, and my Dad’s easter suit had the price tag hanging out from under his sleeve as he stood holding  his song book. Dad had a beautiful voice, and he was concentrating on the song, but he finally felt the tap on his shoulder from Bea.  He sheepishly pulled off the tag and grinned. My Dad  made life feel like the end of the movie had already happened, and everything was always going to be ok. The world made sense. 

    He worked long hours in his business, and many a chip bag was stuffed here and there out of Mom’s sight.  He was always on a diet.  After chemo one day, I told him about the Frito-Lay burritos  at a local fast food place.  Since they didn’t list it on the menu outside it had escaped his food radar. The stress of chemo melted away as he enjoyed the chili-cheese corn chip happiness wrapped in paper. 

   It was the time spent that made me feel important. It was taking the time for life in small increments that made a big impact. I don’t know how many times I heard the story of the monster’s severed toe growing in the garden. By the time he got to the end of the story we were all screaming. Storytelling was in his genetic code; I just know it! Now this was just the craziest story ever. How many times could kids want to hear it? But we did because it was fun!   

     Back to my white house, there were such sweet memories like slowly falling asleep listening to Dad somewhere in the house singing in his rich melodic voice ringing out the words, “Precious memories how the linger how they ever flood my soul…”  Clear, strong, with the ability to hit any note, he sang funny songs and sad ones. He would laugh when we teared up calling us sissies.  I am a sissy right now, but I didn’t mind going home again one bit!

Terri O.A.


12 thoughts on “You can go Home again!!

  1. I love your line “My Dad made life feel like the end of the movie had already happened, and everything was always going to be ok.” It explains why you have so many warm, wonderful childhood memories.

    Thank you for this sweet story,

  2. I always remember my Dad starting to sinbg the words of a song (any song) then change the words to fit a situation or to tease my mother or me and later of course his grandchildren….that was one of the better memories – the others I like to forget.

  3. I was very fortunate to have had those sweet times. As I got older I understood just how rare my childhood was…..there was never a lot of worldly goods but I knew goodness. I almost didn’t post it because I thought maybe it would bring sad memories to someone else, but then I thought maybe one young parent will think how they should spend time with their kids. I hope any negativity was short lived at remembering. When did you first start in photography?

  4. Your welcome! My childhood was rare. I didn’t realize until I was older. My kids are still home. One in college, and one in high school. Parenting isn’t for the faint hearted. :) Two red heads. :)

  5. Not sure exact age but i was still in ‘short pants’ as they say. It was an uncle who saw how frustrated at drawing I became unable to get a brush or pencil to do what I wanted it to do. So he got one of his old cameras and took we out to see what we could ‘caputure’….came back home and introduced me to the magic of the dark room. I was hooked and have never not been involved in photography. Even when I wasn’t a photographer I was involved in the printing and publishing industry and a big user of photography. You could say that I started again when I got disenchanted with BIG business and became freelance. But work or play I love it. The new magic of digital is as magical as the old darkroom.

  6. Well, that love for it absolutely shows up in every shot! How wonderful that you had a mentor. My Dad developed film on the industrial side. He photographed tanks and vessels using radiation. Digital is wonderful! Thank you so much for your reply!

  7. Terri, this is a gorgeous post. I love the tree-lined road you give us inviting us irresistibly into the tale, and the following journey home that is so loving, clear and evocative that not only did you prove that *you* can go home, you took us right along with you. I felt I was right beside you the whole time. I, too, had a warm and loved childhood, and you’re right to share it: those who’ve never had the privilege ought to be able to have a moment in it at least vicariously if they didn’t get to live it first-hand. Thank you for this beautiful moment!


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