Five of my most formative years were spent in this home. It looked different in 1969. It was newer, had fewer plants in the yard, and to my childlike eye, much larger and more grand.
This is the house we moved into when we left California for Texas. When my parents told me and my brother where we were moving I screamed, in classic old Hollywood style, and asked if we were going to have to ride horses. I then ran to my room sobbing. I was just sure life as I had known it was over. Despite my dramatic response, we did indeed move to the end of the world.
Yes, literally to the end of the United States as the town where we moved was located in the lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas. A literal stone’s throw from the Mexican border. I didn’t know it at the time, but Texas would wrap me up and make me an honorary citizen. I had found my place in the world and for all practical purposes I have spent the rest of my life here.
In my mind’s eye, the house is frozen in time. I can still see the terrazzo floors and the long hallway to the bedrooms. My brother and I would ‘skate’ in our socks down that hall and our poor dog could never get traction as she ran to chase a toy.
My bedroom was behind the window on the far right, my brother’s was next to mine and then the big window was the formal living room. Back then it didn’t have a garage. A carport was often the choice of home builders in the late 1950s. From the carport a small room was added that became my mom’s sewing room, and that led into the family room. This home was way ahead of its time as it had an open concept kitchen/dining/family room. And this is where most of life happened.
Fifty two years have gone by since we moved into this little midcentury home. The years have seen a great deal and taken their toll on both of us. Like me, a little saggy around the edges – nothing a little care and a manicure wouldn’t fix – but we are both still standing while providing comfort and shelter for our families and friends. The years I spent living in this home took me from a prepubescent girl entering the sixth grade (then still a part of elementary school) to a sixteen year old excited to drive and navigate the issues of high school. So much of who I am today began while living in this home in Harlingen Texas.
Going back to childhood memories is almost always a bittersweet activity. Nothing remains the same; time does not stand still nor should we. Life is meant to be experienced as we move forward ever evolving into the perfection for which we were created. Sometime there is value in a quick glimpse backwards before moving forward again.