Good Prayers: God Be In My Head
Loving Things (And Letting Go of Mathoms)

On Idlewood

House_1The house in which I lived until about the age of four was a 1950s style single story frame "cottage", with a front screen door that went flap-flap-flap when you dropped it and a wooden front door that had a small triangular window set in it.  It wasn't quite like the picture, but these houses remind me of the cookie-cutter design of the houses in that neighborhood.  Of course, I could not have said that to you then, given my young age, all my memories now filtered through my middle-age lens.

The people next door to us, at least on one side, were Greek, with a son named Georgie with whom I played.  Their Greekness was evident and in descriptions of them to others they were always referred to as "the Greek people."  I threw a rock through their front living room window, but they were forgiving.  My Dad fixed the window.

Idlewood was a so Fifties name for my street, denoting suburban tranquility.  Maybe it was, and perhaps it wasn't.  That's difficult to speak of when you are four.  Besides, the world is small at four; the world I could walk on extended just a bit beyond Georgie's yard, perhaps as far as my sister's friend's house about five houses up, where she took me one time.  The backyard sloped down to a fence just beyond our playhouse, from where nose pressed through chain link I could overlook a swimming pool supply company, one with sample pools out back.  And that's about it for my world.

Revisiting this place in my mind is like looking at a photo album where most of the pictures have been lost.  My bedroom: lost.  The kitchen -- eating homemade french fries, sitting on the counters the night the rat got in the house.  The dining room: the monster that lived in the window fan.  The living room: shag carpet under my feet as I walk out one morning to see my Mom talking with an unidentified lady.  The front yard: My Mom coming home from the hospital with my little sister, the same place where I took the brake off the stroller and let her roll down the hill some time later.  (She survived, faring better than me.) 

Why these memories?  Why do I remember these things and not others?  I have no idea, but I trust that God has given these memories for some purpose and shielded me from others for my protection.  We have the promise that all things work together for the good of those who love Him, so I can be confident that even these memories left me work together for my good.

Just a tattered old photo album.  Now, if I could just find the rest of those photos.