Home > Random Musings, Stories from Childhood > This Place Has a Memory

This Place Has a Memory


This morning, everything is serene. Outside, the birds chirp, flit, and flutter.

There’s a crow on the fence. A robin on the ground. A mocking bird’s perched in a nearby tree.

It looks like a Disney movie. Half an hour earlier, you would’ve found deer on the lawn. And probably a very anxious bunny. I suspect it has some kind of social anxiety disorder.

This place, where I’m sitting right now, it has a history. Years and years of memories. Beginnings. Ends. Words unsaid. Words never said. Love. Hate. Anger. Friendship. Heartbreak. Joy.

And food. Lots and lots of food. (Coffee, too, of course. This is ME we’re talking about.)

I’ve been thinking about all the people this place has seen. It’s a horse farm. There have been a lot of folks – some good, some bad. Some completely frightening and incompetent. Some have even earned highly original nicknames like Icky Mark, Brat Number One, and Blondie. (Don’t ask. I beg you.)

If you look back through all my family photos, the majority of them are from this house. Some of them feature me with (very) unfortunate hair, clothing, and an explicable passion for grinning at the camera like some sort of mental patient.

This place has always been home. The center aisle of the barn is concrete (not cement, guys – that’s an ingredient in concrete. Yeah, I’m a dork), and it holds the shoes of a very awesome pony I once owned. The pool out back? My family and I put it in ourselves. The house? We built it. I’m not kidding. (I was very little. I mostly made sand castles in the foundation sand. BUT STILL.)

This house has been through a lot. (A bad tenant during an unfortunate stint in Florida – and, years later, a Flood. No, really. It flooded. No unicorns were harmed though, so it’s all good.) The bathroom upstairs? That’s where my mom did my hair for my first homecoming dance. I ended up on a blind date with a really awesome guy (who, if I can admit it now, I didn’t fully appreciate) – because my “friend” ditched me the afternoon of the dance. (Bitch.)

The barn out back? I used to hide in the hayloft and read for hours, never mind that I’m completely allergic to the hay. Or that I don’t particularly enjoy heights. That was my safe place. My home turf. And in the riding ring? I rode great horses, bad horses, my favorite horse, and one named Camelot. I also did trick riding (why, YES, I can ride a pony backward), sang until my voice gave out (mostly Sarah McLachlan), and supervised some strange characters.

There was a woman who vacuumed her horse as a grooming tactic. There was a girl who often tried to steal things, while in the very next breath professed, “I don’t steal.” Really? That’s my HELMET in your hand. Hand in the cookie jar, much?

There were friends and people I loved. Mistakes and good deeds swirling together in a mess of opportunity. Can a place hold memories? I like to think so. I like to think that history grows in between the floorboards, slips into the ground, and comes to rest in the silence between moments.

I like to think that this place remembers everything that I remember – good, bad, hard, easy, stupid, smart, beautiful, ridiculous, and whatever else. People talk about having a connection to a place. I don’t think I ever really realized what that means, what it feels like.

This morning, for whatever reason, I do. I get it. I’m glad to spend time here. I’m glad to make more memories. Summer’s coming, and I’ll be hard pressed to stay inside at all.

It’s the season of ice pops, swimming, stupid mistakes, and dreams. The beach (called the shore, people). The fresh produce at the farm stand that also makes the BEST apple cider donuts you’ve ever had. Getting homemade ice cream at the shop attached to the hardware store (I’m not kidding. And it is the most wonderful ice cream around). Flip-flops and bikinis, fireflies, and riding at dusk.

This place has a memory. And trust me when I say, it’s wonderful.

  1. April 18, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    Golly, I love this. Places do come with these memories. They live in your skin, right down to your gut. My life has turned out blessed in a hundred ways, yet for years I haven’t been able to visit the places of my youth (2,000 miles away) without steeling myself against their memories (battening the hatches, as it were). Now I’m sitting here all melancholy, wondering if that was a good thing to do, even if it was a wise thing to do. You’re such a lovely writer.

    • Ali
      April 18, 2011 at 5:18 pm

      I’m really glad that you enjoyed this, Gayle. As for the place of your youth, sometimes the memories hurt too much. I get that. There’s always a reason to go back and a reason to stay away. If you do go back to visit, I want to hear about it. *grin* Thank you very, very much for the compliment on my writing. That made me happy.

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