Thursday, April 19, 2012

THROWBACK THURSDAY: "Home"

Mom (right) pictured with friend. 

This week I'm participating in a meme called THROWBACK THURSDAY started by my friend Tara at Me and the Mexican. I don't know if it's because I'm missing my Miami Amigas, or if it's because I've come down with a nasty cold, but I'm feeling a little melancholy today. So I've decided to go waaayyy back in time.

I start by sharing an old photograph taken of my mom in front of the house where my brother, sisters and I grew up in Santa Ana, CA. When I think back to when I was a little girl, I remember this white stucco, two bedroom, one bath duplex, whose hardwood floors my mom shellacked ever year, being the most beautiful house, ever. It had a towering oak tree that stretched into the sky, rose bushes, night jasmine and birds of paradise. Summer nights were the best because we'd sleep with the windows open to enjoy the sweet fragrance (along with the neighbor's 8-track tapes and roosters).

My happiest memories living there are of big family get-togethers, roller skating, playing pranks with my sisters and graduating high school. My saddest memories are of when the City came to cut down the tree because its massive roots had grown under the sidewalk, and of years later, when my mom, whose hair had turned grey, stood on the front steps waving good-bye when I left for the East Coast.

The Internet can be our best friend or worst enemy.

I recently went on Google Earth to see what my childhood home looked like and was saddened by what I found. Years had not been kind to it: The lawn had been replaced by concrete, there was no vegetation and the impersonal structure sat desolate, nearly swallowed by the vacant lot alongside it.

It couldn't be.

The beautiful thing about memories is that they're our own. I've cast aside the image of the strange house I saw online. What I see pictured, here, is what I'll always remember as "home."