I have my mother's house. I own it with my sister. She wants to sell it, I want to keep it. In that situation, should it come to be , a court would force a sale. I could buy her out if I had the money which I do not. I visit my mother's house. It is only an hour away from mine. My daughter loves the house too. She is 17 with the sensibility of someone much older. She leaves her cell phone behind when she and I go to the house. That way she makes herself inacessible to her friends for the weekend. My daughter, happy to leave teenage drama behind, steps back in time with me when we visit my mother's house.
Memories of my youth make this house special to me. It is fragrant with memories. My dream has been to fix this house up first for my parents now for me. I realize neither dream. My financial situation was is and will remain tight.
The house is chock full of old stuff. My father, who passed away in the house, kept a file of my accomplishments which were a paltry few - an acceptance to a college I did not attend, a confirmation certificate and report cards from grammar school and high school. He kept the birthday cards I gave him with my crayon portraits of him and my greetings written in special gold and silver.
In the attic are the pictures of my youth stashed carelessly in an old leather suitcase. There are more pictures of my sister than of me. My parents were not photographers so the few shots of me are out of focus and from a distance. I had an aunt who was a gifted photographer. There are a few of her shots in that suitcase as well. Those photos are imaginatively composed and in crisp focus. She took my favorite childhood picture--me at age five wrapped in a towel after an ocean swim.
In a box collapsed with age and secured with string is my mother's wedding dress from "The Tailored Woman - Fifth Avenue and 57th Street, New York City". At 36, in 1950, she was considered an older bride and I guess not entitled to wear white. Her wedding dress was blue but in the black and white photos of the day it of course appears grey. I open the box and lift the dress from its little home. It is a simple affair - a handmade pink slip under a blue lace sheath. The stole of lace that appears dreamily around my mother's shoulders in the photo is seriously disintegrated. The lace at the hem is reinforced with a light lattice bonding material. For me, this dress is iconic - a piece of my personal history though the abundant lace crunches with age.
I always knew my mother to be overweight. This dress proves to me that she was not always that way. The dress is tiny. It zips up the side as fancy dresses of my youth did. Alone in the attic, I strip and step into the dress aware that, by so doing, I am not helping it. I get it to my shoulders and try the side zipper. No luck. Not even close. To make matters worse, my current age of 57 makes me old enough to be "mother of the bride". Reality check!