If you know me, or if you’ve been following this column for long, you probably know about my home. My wife and I own a very large, almost 125-year-old Barre City house where we have lived for nearly 40 of those years. All five of our children grew up here; all twelve of our grandkids and even two great-grandkids have spent much time here.
Our house is in decent shape (for the shape it’s in, as they say,) but does bear the scrapes and scars of those years of use, and probably of some misuse. A few places in the hard old woodwork are marked with minor digs; some inner doorways still show the holes from hinges removed and doors discarded long before our time here. There is a small cold cellar, a closed room in the corner of our basement with crudely painted letters on its door which read: “Keep Out! No Girls Allowed!” Those words are ‘child height writings’ probably painted there by a few small boys in the process of forming a fleeting ‘boys only’ club down there. Those boys, if still with us at all, are incredibly old men by now. Also in the basement, right in front of the furnace, is a spot where the concrete floor was patched, long ago. A date the patching was done is marked forever in the cement with the year 1934. To me that is amazing.
Our house definitely has some charm, and a bit of personality caused by these and many other records of our family’s time here, along with the times of the families that came before us.
When I think of all of that it makes me wonder about those other people involved and the fact that those years also had their effect, took their toll on them, too.
What happens in life writes a long and telling story on our minds, and even on our bodies. We too have the scars of age and experience, both physically and mentally; we too bear those marks in our appearance, and in our own personalities.
In a smallish front room of the house, that we have always called the family room, there is a big corner fireplace, and various chairs and antiques. In one front corner is my grandfather’s old Victrola, complete with its 78rpm records from the era when our old house was a new one. The Victrola still works, and I sometimes play one of those old recordings, just to hear the voices of singers who had passed long before I was even born. The amazing thing, to me, is that those voices are still there, contained in the grooves, the ‘wrinkles’ of those old records.
That always reminds me of the fact that we are each, in a way, records of the time we have spent in this life. At my age there are many records of experience in the wrinkles, white hair, and memories that are ‘me.’
Let’s be thankful for both the great times and the physical and mental scars earned by bumping our way through the rooms and hallways of this old house we call life. We should wear the record proudly.