Wandering Wednesday – Home

There are two things that I need to say to preface this entry:

1.  One of my resolutions this year is to blog three times weekly.  I figure that structure will encourage me not only to write consistantly, but also to write quality material instead of constantly copping out with bad poetry.  My plan is to write every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  Mondays are my free days, so I’ll write about something I’m reading, watching, thinking or feeling…typical bloggy stuff.  Wednesdays I am alliterationally calling “Wandering Wednesdays” and will be about a new place that I have visited or explored.  Fridays are devoted to fiction.  This way I get to explore three specific parts of myself (the indecisive free spirit with too many interests, the traveler and the story teller) on a consistent basis and my readers (all zero of them) will know what to expect on a given day.  So if that’s something that matters to you, that’s a win.

2.  I have had a few conversations since I returned home that have shocked me.  Not necessarily because of their content but because of their implications.  I am very close to my family.  I like to think that I know them quite well.  I know that I don’t know any of them perfectly, especially now that we have started moving out of the house and creating new chapters in our lives that have less to do with the Petersons as a unit and more to do with us as individuals who care about each other.  However, I am realizing that there are important bits and pieces of my siblings and mother about which I know nothing.  I have had 23 years worth of time to ask these people questions and grow in my understanding of them and I am still learning “new”, important things about them today.  I love that I learn new things about the people that I love.  I hate that there have been and will continue to be things that I never think to find out about them.

Today is Wednesday.  According to point one that means that I am supposed to wander somewhere new and unpack the untold mysteries of a place I have never seen before.  Due to point two, however, I thought that it would be fun to explore the house that I grew up in with fresh eyes and see if there is a part of this place that I did not know before.

I present to you…mi casa:


From the outside a house is almost less than a house.  It fades into the scenery just as much as the leafless trees and bushes in front of it.   The redness of my house is something I remember being proud of as a kid.  I liked that it stood out of the monotonous drone of grays, browns and light blues that characterize most of my suburb.  A red house with white trim was unique without being an eyesore like the odd pastel yellow or pepto pink ones we drove past in Minneapolis.


I remember seeing beams of light shining through the cracks around the door to my Dad’s workshop when I brought a basketball or a bucket of chalk back into the garage after a day of play.  I would peer inside and wave at the man with sawdust in his beard.  I would jealously stare at the saws and hammers and journal about my dream (although by the time I was old enough to use the machines I’d given up on the dream) of becoming a carpenter like the two most admirable people I could think of:  My Dad and Jesus.  In that order.

I thought that if I was looking for the secrets my house has been keeping from me I should start in a place that I never spent much time in.  I figured that the garage and my father’s attached workshop were the best place to start.  They are crowded with things that I’ve rarely glanced twice at, but the only thing that I found out was that nothing there deserved any more attention than it had already received.

I took pictures of whole rooms and trinkets.  I opened drawers and sought out things that I remembered from once upon a time but haven’t seen in ages.  I tried to get as much detail into every picture as was humanly possible and even as I tried to manipulate my house into telling the story that I wanted it to tell it fought back and reminded me exactly what I learned earlier this week.

The stories aren’t in the big picture.  They are in those insignificant, dusty details that remind us where we came from and edge us toward where we are going.  And no matter how hard we try to shape them it is always they that shape us.



My house is the mailbox I never adjusted to.  The boring, identical black box that never really replaced its mottled, rusty predecessor.  Reddish brown spots threatened to poke holes in the matte, white metal.  In retrospect it was kind of embarrassing that we didn’t get rid of the mailbox sooner, but in retrospect I still wish we hadn’t.




My house is the pair of rubbings that hang in our entry way.  As a young adult my mother went to cemeteries with a crayon (a fancy crayon, but I don’t know the actual terminology) and sheets of long black paper and find stones with beautiful etchings.  Then she would bring those beautiful etchings home on her long sheets of black paper.


My house is the broken, unused and unusable lanterns hanging in the workshop.  With one parent raised on a farm and the other in the back room of a tiny small-town store they whisper of a past that is only mine by association.  Forgotten and broken, they are a secret in their anonymity.  I love them for that in a kind of misplaced nostalgia that doesn’t even belong to me.



My house is the license plate frame we were never tacky enough to keep on a car, but with which we agreed enough that instead of throwing it away we hung it up in the garage.





My house is the bunch of dead roses hanging above a probably dried out package of shoe goo where nobody will ever see them.  A love for the beautiful combined with an aversion to throwing anything away leaves them tucked away where they are rarely appreciated, but never degraded to the level of trash.




My house is the wall of wedding photos and the last family picture we took before my Dad died.  It is the school photos that represent every member of my family, including my father and a silhouette of my mother and all the nieces and nephews.



My house is the dog tags hanging in the laundry room.  Not used since our dog was put to sleep when I was in elementary school, they remain a reminder of the dog I still remember chasing down the driveway in a panic. My father swept me into his arms before I reached the street.  I saw visions of my puppy getting lost or run over and never returning as it ran into oblivion, but he convinced me she would return the next morning, no worse off than she was at that moment as she faded into the distance.  He was right.


Final Summation:  My house isn’t made of secrets.  It’s made of memories.