So this is the house I grew up in. An edifice for the ages. It seems like of like stately Wayne Manor sometimes. It’s changed some since I lived here last. The roof had to be re-done when the asbestos shingles started to deteriorate. I should take a picture out the window of my old room where I’d occasionally crawl out the window and sit on the roof over the family room.
Maybe that’s why I still identify so well with the comic strip “Zits”. Jeremy often is depicted sitting out on the roof like that.
I got here today and started looking at things. Mom kept saying what a disaster the house is, but I can barely tell she’s packed anything. Tomorrow, we’ll need to go to the cemetery. I’ll want to take some pictures of dad’s grave, as well as the others in the family plot, and the mausoleum. I think we’ll be driving out to Kenray Lake tomorrow as well. Someplace else I need to shoot just to have the record. So many memories swirling around these next few days.
I looked at my old yearbooks this afternoon when nobody else was here. Things I’d written for myself long before anyone had conceived of a blog. Things old friends (and old girlfriends) wrote to me. Some of it’s pretty ridiculous, but I was 15-18. Give me a break Jenni read them when she was here, and didn’t bust my chops about it while we were down island. It’s amazing that I haven’t seen most of those people for 20-30 years. My first real girlfriend showed up at my Dad’s funeral 10 years ago, and I ran into another one, who’s now married with like 8 kids, last time I was in town. Or maybe it was the time before that. I don’t remember. There are always people I say I should look up when I’m here, and I never do. I don’t know why. But if I don’t do it this time, it’s not gonna get done. I can’t imagine a scenario that brings be back here, at least until we have to bring mom back to be buried next to dad. By then, I hope to be really, really old.
Sometimes, I look at kids who live in the massive tract mansions in Florida along Ponte Vedra Boulevard, or the ones that live oceanfront, and wonder if they know how lucky they are. But people could look at the picture of this house and ask the same thing about me. I don’t feel like I have been particularly privileged, but in my heart of hearts, I know I was.
This house has been the Furst house since it was built 107 years ago. In typical small town fashion, my dad’s family lived just two blocks down, and so I had grandparents in walking distance the entire time I was growing up. You’ll notice on the stone wall around the front yard that there are triangular pieces along the entire length of the wall. The story was that they were put there because my dad and his friends used to walk along the flat part of the wall … so they made it impossible. I’m not sure who was living here at the time, but it’s a plausible story.
My sisters, particularly my youngest sister, swear the place is haunted. My great grandfather was laid out in the front room when he died in 19-40something. I’ve never had a paranormal experience here, but Elizabeth swears she’s been visited by somebody. I keep hoping, but nothing yet. Maybe here on my last visit, I’ll have a visitor, but I’m not going to hold my breath or lose any sleep.
So many years. The river of time just accelerates the further downstream you go. And now, it’s time for the house to change hands. For a new family to come and make it home.
It’s good to be here. Mostly, it’ll just be Mom and me these few days. My cousin John and his wife Jane will be down for dinner tomorrow. I’m thinking about a braised short ribs of beef or a pot roast … or maybe a pork roast. Something will come to me.
I guess these posts are going to be a bit rambling. Not Hemingway’s clean, concise, spare prose by any means … but I’ve always said “I ain’t Hemingway”.
Time to get this posted and get some sleep.