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Around the Bluhmin’ Town

9/21/16

Judy Bluhm

I am leaving on a short trip. I will be taking a time capsule (Southwest Airlines) to a faraway land (Ohio), a place of my youth (family home) where nothing much changes and a million memories will greet me. I’m not off to anywhere exotic, just going to the place where I grew up, so when I finally arrive “home” it will be to an old house on a shady lane in a small town in the country. I’ll drive by the seventy year old church that I went to every Sunday and past the houses of neighbors whom have long since died. When I get up to my mother’s house, I’ll walk by a sixty-five-old willow tree that I used to climb as a kid.

Nothing in my mother’s house ever changes. Elsewhere, the world seems to spin at break-neck speed, years flying by, children growing up in a minute, but when I walk in the front door of my childhood home, I’ll see that time does stand still. There will be all the familiar furniture in the living room, to the paintings that grace the walls, the grandfather clock will chime the same tune and the kitchen will have the aroma of something delicious just baked. In a stove that is forty-five years old!

When I put my bag down in my room, it will be as though I never left. A busy, flowered, patterned wallpaper will still dance around the room with white lace curtains at the window. The same blue bedspread sprinkled with small white flowers, with a ruffled hem will remind me that sometimes “old’ things are as good as new.  A small jewelry box on a nightstand will hold my charm bracelet and a photo of me at age sixteen, proof that at one time, this place was the center of my universe.

In Arizona, the average person moves every four to five years. Imagine living in the same house for sixty-five years! Would you have to love it? Or perhaps a home becomes so familiar that at some point, it’s impossible to leave. I’ve tried to talk my mother into moving out to Arizona, but she always says, “no and never.” Hey, it’s cold in Ohio in the winter, but she doesn’t care. She used to stay with me for the winter months, but now her travel days are over. So we make my visits count.

There’s a huge maple tree in my mother’s front yard that has my name carved into the bark. More proof that some things are reliably constant. I may actually be transformed while I’m visiting my mother. I’ll drink hot tea at her house (she’s English) and eat scones. She may even get me to crotchet again! So the house may remain unchanged, but my mom keeps moving forward and likes to stay up-to-date. She has learned how to send emails and is on Facebook!  Occasionally she will send me a text. Not bad for 93 years old!

What to pack for a trip back in time? Maybe something nostalgic (I still have a Mother’s Day card that my brother and I made over 40 years ago). Well, I doubt that I can fit everything into a carry-on bag. No, going home requires checked luggage and plenty of space for gifts, photos and a secret stash for memories. Packing light? Impossible. Packing right? Essential. Especially when your destination is “Memory Lane.”

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local realtor. Have a comment or a story? Email Judy at judy@judybluhm.com.