Saturday, January 31, 2015

Street of Dreams


My neighbor around the corner used to walk her little boys by my house with their big wheels. We would chat sometimes and she mostly complained about the people who lived behind her who were constantly annoyed by the noise wafting from her back yard when her family and friends were in the pool or just out BBQing. And she always punctuate the conversation with “But I will never move! This is my dream house!”

Imagine my surprise when a couple months ago, her sons now graduated from high school, I spotted a big fat For Sale sign on her property. Now they are gone- to where I have no idea. Since her sons were old enough to travel the neighborhood independently, our only communication was a wave as I drove by her house. She was usually outside meticulously manicuring her yard and garden and/or washing down the entire street in front of her house in her bathrobe.

When doing therapy with children, a very common assessment tool is called “House, Tree, Person”. The child is asked to draw all three on a blank piece of paper and the idea behind this is that they will “project” into the drawing aspects of their inner world. I’ve always loved doing this with my little clients, allowing both of us to relax and get to know each other. (And of course, I love any opportunity to color with my set of 64 Crayola Crayons-Burnt Umber and Brick Red being my favorites..)

In my quest to “let go” in 2015, I threw away all my notes and paraphenalia from graduate school, including my very first House, Tree, Person drawing. But it doesn’t really matter. Every one I’ve ever drawn looks just like this one. I did this the other day sitting at my kitchen table. You might ask if this is my “dream house”. Not really. I think I’m the only woman on earth who has never longed for her “dream house”.

Rather, I have many houses that I dream about.

Shortly after we moved from sunny California to Portland Oregon, my son Patrick, then 9 years old, had a vivid dream about our family home we had sadly left behind. He was outside playing with his brothers and the neighborhood kids with squirt guns. Out of water, he attempted to charge into the kitchen for a refill but found the front door locked. A stranger opened it and promptly announced “you don’t live here any more”.

Pausing here for a brief meltdown.

I grew up on Halo Drive in Compton, California. I had my babies on Tedemory Drive in Whittier. I sent my first son to high school from SE 31st Street in Portland, Oregon. And I launched all three of them into adulthood from my current home on Del Monte Avenue. Each house was a “dream house” to me because the people I loved the most made it just that. And in each house, a part of me was projected on to the walls and floors and empty spaces as my own personality and inner being grew and developed, magically displayed like a crayon drawing on a clean white piece of linen paper.

I’m moving, downsizing, cleaning, sorting and putting up for sale once again a house I will someday dream about. I’m feeling both excited and sad and several other emotions in between. But I am holding the tension of the opposites deep within as I go through this process. It’s time to make a change, to grow in a new direction, to take a chance, to redirect the energy in my life. It will be a bittersweet journey.

I will take this home with me. Every house I’ve ever lived in has taken up permanent residence in my heart and soul, carefully placed on my own personal Street of Dreams.

And I can revisit them any time I like.


8 Responses

  1. How beautifully you have put your thoughts to permanence, Rosemarie. Each of your homes will claim a part of your heart forever. I often think of our days on Tedemory Drive when our children were growing up and I cannot drive anywhere near our old neighborhood without tears in my eyes. I cherish that wonderful time as no other in my life. Chaos often prevailed, but it was such happy chaos! As you make ready to depart the familiar environs of your present home, may you hasten to remember that you are bringing your personality and character, your thoughts and aspirations, your ardor and resolve, your past and present, your heart and soul to your new home and blessed will be those walls to have your loving imprint. In the words of Rabindranath Tagore: “[Sometimes] it is the most distant course that comes nearest to thyself.” You are “homeward bound,” Rosemarie. Enjoy the journey!

    • Kathy, I will never forget leaving that house on Tedemory Drive. It was the most difficult thing I’d ever done. It was like ripping a bandage off a raw wound. I don’t think any move will be as challenging as that one. I do believe, through all the moves I’ve made, that I take it all with me- whatever it was that I am sad about leaving. Thank you for your loving support.

  2. Wow. Some powerful thoughts and insight from both Kathy and Rosemarie. Beautifully written by you both. I applaud you, Rosemarie for having the courage to let go and move on to a new adventure. I look forward to hearing more about the next phase.

  3. Rosemarie, my dearest-from-afar-most-admired friend, my greatest desire is that we may have the opportunity someday soon to sit down and have a long talk about our lives and our loves and all in between. I am always here to support you in thought and in prayer in any way you need.

  4. Oh Rosemarie, how brave of you! Do you know where you’re moving? Closer to work, I hope.
    When I retired, I got rid of all my teaching materials. What a bittersweet time that was. I also threw away my Master’s thesis! And then I went through my closets (s!) to whittle down my professional clothes. Melissa took some, but most went to Goodwill. I kept several of my favorite things, but now, a year and a half later, I haven’t worn much of what I kept. So I guess a new purge is in order. Life changes, and like the sensitive, intelligent, reasonable women we are, we embrace the new. Good luck on the sale of your house. I will be reading to see how it all goes for you. xoxo

  5. Sandy, yes indeed! Embrace the new! I am very excited about this move. I don’t want to have my feet stuck in clay because I am afraid of change. I am looking forward to new neighbors and new horizons and new opportunities. Thank you for your encouragement!!

  6. I’ve been your “sister from another mother” through many of these moves and hope to be able to sit on the porch in a rocking chair with you, when we’re little, old ladies in red and purple; while we reminisce about all the precious days that have gone by. It’s so nice to share memories and special times with such a beautiful person – inside and out.

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