Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Gently Down the Stream



In the dream I am driving around Kansas City, visiting places where I once lived. I go first to the house where I grew up, a place resonant with painful memories. But when I arrive, I find that the house has been nicely renovated. I walk to the front door, take a deep breath and get ready to knock. I hear someone playing the violin from inside. As it turns out, the people who now own the house are musicians - the husband is a violinist who plays with the Des Moines Symphony, and the wife is a pianist. The house feels spacious and welcoming. Only the bathtub looks the same.

Next, I want to have a look at the last place where my mother lived. Not only my mother, but my grandmother, died in that house. It was a small place, split into two apartments. Everyone in my family lived in that house at some point, except my father and possibly my oldest sister Karen. (I can't remember.) Those were stormy years for all of us. But when I arrive, I find only a grassy, empty lot. The house burned the the ground, I learn subsequently (no one was inside when it happened.)


What a dream, eh? A person could chew on the symbolism, the metaphor, the possibilities, endlessly, delving deeper and deeper into the levels of meaning in these scenarios.

Except - it's not a dream. My brother visited Kansas City last weekend in "real" life. He, his wife and my sister actually took that drive around town. It's true: the house where we all grew up is now occupied by a sweet young couple, both musicians. True, too, is that the house where my mother lived at the end of her life no longer exists. My brother included photos with his report - he's not making it up.

My goodness, life really IS a dream, isn't it? My head is spinning, contemplating what my sibs and sib-in-law experienced last weekend. All I can say is, Wow!

3 comments:

Barbara said...

OK, so did you really dream this and then find out it was true? That would definitely spook me out if it happened to me.

I love it that your old house is filled with the sounds of music now. I wonder if they have found any combs in the bathroom? :) And do you suppose the menorah your Mother painted on the ceiling is still there under a layer or two of paint?

Reya Mellicker said...

Good question about the combs. Even though someone owned that house for twenty years before the musicians moved in, still, one or two could have been tucked back into the far corner of a cabinet in the bathroom.

Josh posted pics of the new renovation on our famiy website. Long gone is the menorah, not to mention the hideous wallpaper patterns, like the copper tea kettle pattern in the dining room, and the brown weird shapes pattern in my parents' bedroom. When I was sick I used to be able to cross my eyes and make that pattern go 3-D. Whew!!

Steve said...

Interesting! I think it's important to touch base with places that are meaningful to family. Often when I go to D.C. I visit my grandparents' former house in Hyattsville, even though they've both been dead for more than 17 years!