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Inspired by Take Ten For Writer’s by Bonnie Neubauer. This is writing prompt # 86, Time Traveler.  Write about a neighbor and start with the phrase “I wasn’t…”

I wasn’t prepared for the blast from the past I felt when I entered my neighbor’s house, but it was as if time had stopped when I left home fourteen years earlier. The house was exactly as I remembered; entering the garage, I was transported back in time to when it held dozens of Mr. Hayes’ intriguing woodworking tools and the wing of an unfinished airplane which hung from the rafters as if contemplating flight by itself. If I closed my eyes, I could almost smell the pungent-sweet odor of sawdust and hear the rivets being set in metal.  Stepping through the back door revelaed that the kitchen was exactly as I remembered, the formica table and chairs remnants of the early 1980’s. Strangely, even though I remember spending many afternoons sitting at the table, I never ate there. Mrs. Hayes always served dinner in her dining room, and it too was a time capsule. The table linens and centerpiece were untouched as if waiting for her to enter with a fine meal. I could almost smell the mouthwatering dishes she so lovingly prepared and how, even as a young child, I sat mesmerized by the stories Mr. Hayes told while we ate.

The den was the same with its wood paneled walls and filled bookshelves on top of which stood family portraits, some of which were over 30 years old. The box of toys my sister and I played with was still in the closet and the cross stitch my mother made of a German Shepherd in honor of the family pet still hung by the door. Time travel exists on this suburban street corner, but somehow the unchanging has changed. Mr. Hayes passed away in 2003 after a long struggle with Alzheimers. Mrs. Hayes spends much of her time in Texas with her family, so she’s never home when I am. The house is empty.  Nothing is as it once was, but within the walls of that home, I am transported. I’m once again a child playing with a German Shepherd and visiting my adopted grandparents on a warm summer evening….I am ten years old without a care in the world. I am home.

4 thoughts on “Home

  1. That was a sweet tribute to Pat and Vernon! They will always hold a special place in my heart as do you, sweet daughter.

  2. What a wonderful piece, Jen! I remember my grandparents’ and my great aunt’s homes being exactly like this. They were time travel trips to the past, and particularly fascinating to me as a boy. I have an old, old cedar chest that belonged to my mother and where she kept all of her patches and swaths and yards of cloth for the clothes she used to make for us kids, and then the grandkids back in the 1940s through the ’70s. Whenever I open that now empty cedar chest and sniff the divine fragrance of cedar wood, I am transported instantly back into the past when I was a youngster.

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