In a few weeks, the Popple will take her first trip to America. Not only will she get to meet lots of family, including her great-grandparents and new cousins – but she’s going to get to see where I’m from. Not only the town, but the actual house where I grew up.
My parents still live in the house where I spent the first 18 years of my life. I can’t wait to show the Popple around.
“This was my room when I was a baby,” I’ll say. “Now it’s primarily the place where the cats poop. See, that wooden box is actually a litter box that’s been cleverly designed to look like a piece of furniture. No no no, we don’t touch that. Get your hand out, please. No touching. Why is your hand in the litter box? Oh, there’s a cat in there. Yes, we can wave at the cat. Hello, cat. Pet her softly, like this – see? Oh dear, you have her tail in your fist.”
I’ll tell her about how that room became my brother’s room when he was born, and I moved into the bigger room next door. I’ll show her that room too – the ceiling that still has glow-in-the dark stars that I could never really see without my glasses, the door I leaned against while I sulked after losing a game of Mall Madness* and the wall I pounded on when I thought I heard my brother turning the pages of his book after bedtime, yelling, “Mom, I can hear Todd reading!”.
I’ll show her the dining room where we ate family meals on picnic benches, the living room where I danced to “Good Lovin’” by The Young Rascals as a toddler and the kitchen where I once filled my mouth with grapes, making my brother laugh so hard that he squirted milk out his nose.
I’ll take her out to the backyard where I spent so many hours as a child. I’ll show her the shed that I helped my dad ‘paint’ with water. I’ll point out the place where I once stepped on two rusty nails in one day. I’ll tell her about the tree that fell down during a hurricane, and how awesome it was to climb all over it.
“We spent a lot of time out here in the summer,” I’ll say. “Summers were hot, you see. There was a lot of sun. We didn’t need to wear waterproofs in June, and everything didn’t go to s**t by August. I swear I’m not making this up.”
I hope that someday I can give the Popple a house that gives her as many memories as mine did. She’s only lived in semi-grotty rented flats so far, but thankfully she’s too young to notice. She deserves to live somewhere where the carpet isn’t stained with God knows what from God knows who, and but it’s more than that.
She deserves a home.
*This was a really f***ed up board game where the goal is to spend all of your money at the mall. It had shops like the Fork It Over Kitchen Store, Yuppy Puppies Pets and Short Circuit Electronics, a nod to the 1986 film about a military robot that is struck by lightning and becomes a lovable robot scamp.