I already miss our new old house and we’ve not been back a day. I call it the new old house because it’s a new house filled with old things, an accretion of crocheted antimacassars, floral bedspreads, ceramic animals, free tumblers, glow-in-the-dark holy figurines and back issues dating to the invention of the printing press, courtesy of several generations of single women whose genes forbade them to throw anything away.
I didn’t make it to the cemetery, although my mom, sister and relatives went in shifts. I communed with the dead in my own way, rooting through plastic boxes buried in dust and filled with our past. I saw my grandaunt’s bifocals. A box labeled “Allied Pickfords,” one of the many that carried my Jakarta belongings home, a decade ago. Socks I remembered buying in college. Newspaper clippings.
The rest of the house is waiting for the present to move in. In the meantime, it feels like we’re camping every time we’re there. Which isn’t a bad thing, really.
This will be my room and Lucien’s. When he gets old enough to have his own room, I’ll have a divider put in. Or maybe even a proper wall.
This is my most idiosyncratic suggestion for the house: a bathtub hollowed out of a single piece of narra wood. It’s a beautiful piece. It came with a drain hole. My mom thought of everything else, including the faucets and the plug. It needs to be “seasoned” with mineral oil, so the wood doesn’t absorb the bathwater.
Lucien is not at all concerned with the state of the house. In fact, he expended most of his energy attracting all the dust to his feet, knees and hands.
In spite of the mall peeking out from behind the trees, it’s still a bucolic view. I even spotted a cow. Which reminds me – I used to have a neon pink stuffed cow-hamster hybrid I called the Ruminant Mutant. (“Rumi” for short.) I wonder if it’s hiding somewhere in the house. I wouldn’t be surprised. It would make a perfect companion for Lucien’s toy, which was the only casualty of our adventure:
Now he’s a survivor, that one.