There’s the long driveway , albeit widened over time for convenience, where I watched my four little ones walk to the school bus. Time blurs and in my mind, I can see them coming up the hill, lunch pail in hands, school papers rustling in the wind and four little ones rushing to tell me about their day at school. There was a big elm tree then with lilacs resting over the shoulder of the road. The stonewalls are still there, wild roses coming back after a few years of rest. To the left is the apple tree. I can hear Debbie screaming that Brian has fallen off the lowest branch; fortunately the huge boulder that rests there now was not there the day he scraped his arms and legs.
And so it goes. I look up at the hill where I skiied in the later years and when the babies were small, put them in the sleigh and away we went on the crust. They say you can’t go home and how true it is, but the memories remain.
Rowe Hill, now paved, rides like an interstate in comparison to the dodging of mud ruts that threatened to wipe the bottom of the car into oblivion those years I drove . How we loved it as children because it meant “mud season” vacation from school; how we hated it as adults trying to maneuver between the ruts and praying we met no one until we approached the one “turn-out”!
How narrow the Greenwood Road has become since I moved. I wonder if I dare drive it , when for years, I geared down my little VW Bug and ripped around the corners without a thought in the world. To think I can take four or five big steps and cross the whole road. I am sure someone has come in the night and made the road smaller!
Oh, we stop in front of the little house where I grew up and it looks lonesome. The porch sags and I am sure if I went closer I could hear my father cursing the bats in the attic or my mother putting the coffee on to perk in the wee hours of the morning. I decline the invitation to go closer than the main road. Memories sometimes go astray when one ventures too close…but then again, I wonder if Ma’s delphiniums have come through the ground and ready to bud.
Grampa and Gram Martin’s farm still stands upon the hill, but lacks the splendor I knew as a child when running across the pasture path to get another of my Gram’s raisin filled cookies she kept in the clear gallon jar on her kitchen cupboard. I don’t know who lives there now, but the path has worn into oblivion after all these years. Behind the farm stands the rock, split in two, which held our maple syrup production year after year. Roland , Rex and I gathered the sap with the help of our husky, Keno, and Roland built the fire and we made a pitiful, but tasteful bit of maple syrup.
Down the road is my brother, Tink and his wife Martha’s home. How many years I walk that field when it was a potato patch and gathered bugs off the plants for my Grampa Martin. Many times he dug in his pocket from his perch on the porch railing to give me a nickel or a dime for my efforts. Tink left us in 2010, but the home on the knoll is a testimonial to how much he loved the spot and Martha has kept it the same since.
There is the home of Charlie and Grace Day, who many times took in this dirty little urchin, scrubbed her hands and arms and sat her at their lunch table to share their noon meal. I can almost smell the Welsh Rarebit and how I loved it …and them.
My Uncle Dwight and Tessie are gone now and their beautiful home graces the country side. One thing remains the same; Twitchell Pond is at its most beautiful this fine spring day. Rowes Ledge stands out in the sun and I remember Dad and I climbing to Pie Rock and how small it was as I stood there looking down at the pond and houses.
You can’t go back to the houses of memories and perhaps that is good. Those memories are in little boxes on the shelves of my mind and I like to open a box now and again to see what I can find. My Uncle Roy fighting off moose in his strawberry patch; the sound of Fred Davis and his banjo from my Grandparents porch on a Sunday afternoon; turning the grindstone for my Uncle Louis and watching as he stacked wood with such pride.
You can’t go back. But in my mind are my four little ones with perhaps a friend or two coming up the road after school, perhaps stopping to pick a lilac or even a dandelion.
It is good that I can go back in my mind whenever I want to open the door.