Monday, December 03, 2007

Into The Wind...

I just found out through my sister's blog that the house I grew up in has since been demolished. What stands there now is a new building. For me, it is strange to accept this. I always knew the day would come that the Old House would have to go. But it was such an integral part of our childhood that I had some how thought we'd be apart of the dismantling of it. I remember the pride in which my family took in making it more than just an old wood-framed orange grove house and turning it into a home, building it up to be more than what it was. I always had a fantasy that my sisters (and perhaps even my brother) and I would comb the torn down ruins and hunt for treasure. Sheila and I had a particular fantasy that during the Great Depression the wealthy owners of the orange groves thought to hide their vast fortune in an old coffee can beneath our unlikely house. The date of the construction would match and our imaginations were as wild as the flaming trumpet vines that we drank the sweet nectar from.

Part of me also recalls that this was the last place that I saw my brother. It was the last place we all saw him. In the ever-changing landscape that is Florida, would he some how navigate back to that Old House? If he were to return, called to the place of his departure, would he go to the site of that Old House and some how be confused? Would he see this new building and give up on the past, give up on us? Somehow that building seemed to be the last solid link to my brother. I know that in this age of digital technology, that it's not necessary to have a standing structure of wood and nail to be found... that maybe even now he is quietly lurking in the shadows and reading these words... maybe.

It's funny to think how much I hated living there at the time. It wasn't fancy or new like all the other kids' homes. I remember how we were teased because we hung our clothes out to dry on the clothes line. But looking back, I see the simple pleasures of living there. I remember feeling the sun on my skin as I ran through the sweet smelling sheets billowing in the wind, pretending that they were the sails of a pirate ship or a secret labyrinth or some great impassible wall. I remember the notch in the camphor tree where I hid my treasures. I remember swinging on the tire swing on the slow growing oak dripping with Spanish moss in the backyard. I remember.

And now, our memories are all we have.


Sunrise TheSea said...

This home, Sanford, FL, in which I have returned is the one with all my memories and it encapsulates "childhood" tp me, though from time to time I loathe every inch of it... You look so much like your brother. At least in pictures.

Andrew Thornton said...

I know what you mean about the childhood homes. They have so many mixed feelings tied to them. In retrospect I had more good times than bad, but I have a way of wearing rosy-colored glasses when looking back. I like feeling nostalgic.

And, I've been told that we look alike quite a bit. Sometimes my parents or relatives will slip up and call me Dwayne. It's always a little awkward, but I like to think that I carry him with me where I go in this way.

Sometimes I wonder what he looks like now. Does he still look like me in pictures?

Jean Katherine Baldridge said...

I have nothing but my memories remaining from my past life, in a way, Andrew. They are my most valuable possessions.

I do know about Dwayne. I have heard about him...he is one of the reasons I think that I used to have a hard time finding your family's website. Like a mist, the site would drift out of my grasp when I was searching for it. Now this no longer happens but for at least two years, it did.

Maybe Dwayne will come back when he wishes to. I hope this happens, I really hope so.

Mim said...

This is a lovely post - thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings.

Unknown said...

Speaking of the past... Hey there foolio :) Sorry I didn't get to call you back. I ended up canceling my cell phone plan much sooner than anticipated. Would you email me your address? realized I don't have it.

Love love love

Unknown said...

I know how you feel...and the anger or loss you probably feel. I miss the fields of my Fathers farm in Lovingston VA. Now all gone b/c he came down with a rare form of cancer and had to sell it. Oh Dad why didnt you keep a small part of that farm?! But it wasnt to be! Is your brother ok now? Please dont be upset with me for asking. I see your Sister write of him. Rememeber the Lord knows where he is!
I really liked what you wrote such depth and perception Andrew. You are a radiant jewel!
My huggs and always,
Janet xxx

Andrew Thornton said...

Hey Jean... I'd like to think that one day we'll all be reunited again. It's hard to imagine how much we've changed and how very different we all are now from how we were as children. It's been something like 17 years now.

Andrew Thornton said...

Mim, I'm glad that I could share it with you. Thanks for being there to share it with.

Andrew Thornton said...

Hey Jenni! I've missed you so much. I've been meaning to write to you. I hope that all is well. I'll write to you privately as there is much that I want to say to you. I hope that you're holding up okay. You've been in my thoughts constantly.

Here is my address:

138 Scholes Street,
Apt. #10
Brooklyn, NY 11206

I'll email it to you also to make sure you get it. You have to send me your's too. I've got Holiday cards to send out and what not.

Oh, I've missed you so much! Madeline emailed me today asking about you. It's funny how the world seems so connected at times.

Andrew Thornton said...

Hey Janet! I'm not mad at you for asking. People will find that I am more than happy to reveal many of the mysteries of my life simply by asking the right question. In any event, Dwayne is the eldest child of the Thornton clan. He went AWOL from the service 17 years ago and we haven't heard or seen him since then. Many theories are up in the air about what happened to him exactly and where he went and why exactly he went, but there are still many unanswered questions.

In any event, I'm glad that you enjoyed the post. It was a personal one for me to write.

Anonymous said...

Whatever became of his Saab Turbo? He seemed to love that car.

Andrew Thornton said...

Hey Anonymous. Who are you? How do you know about my brother's car? And I think it ended up like many of the cars in the backyard... a destiny of dust and rust. I think mom and dad might still have it in their new backyard... but then again, it might have been sold. I'm not sure.

Cynthia Thornton said...

Nope. That car drove off into the sunset and was (like Dwayne)never seen again. The car that was in the yard was a mushroom colored ancient Saab that eventually became scrap. I think anonymous should not be anonymous if talking about my bro, just a thought, cause it gets us all wondering if its HIM or someone that knows something.