The Old (MINNESOTA) Place


Sunday, May 31, 2015. It’s been two years since I’ve been out to the old place; today Robert, Marsha and me are dropping by. I’ll return later this week for some quality time. Wonder what I’ll see today? How much further fallen? Still standing walls? Is the end of the old brown couch still visible? The cellar wasn’t that deep so the abandoned furniture can just come to rest there with me peering in from year to year to see what I still recognize.

I wrote about this coming summer visit to the old place for a winter class assignment asking us to imagine a conversation with an inanimate object. I picked the house I grew up in…The Old Place we call it.

Today won’t be that visit, the one described in the story I wrote—that’s the trip later in the week, just me myself and I—resulting in…a soliloquy post…

20150531_162901Here’s my story from last winter:


You know I come here alone so I can talk out loud to myself without seeming silly don’t you? Maybe I’m not talking to myself; maybe I’m talking to you. I always say hello when I walk through the door. Of course I can only come in those few steps without falling to the ground below the broken boards and fractured linoleum that was once the floor. A  few steps further on and I would fall into that horrid old cellar—a creepy damp spider-ridden place where mom kept the jars of blueberries and June berries and choke cherries and plums and pears and peaches and apricots and apple sauce. Because we were a family favoring fruits way over vegetables. On canning days you wore your fruity perfume with summery pleasure and a pretty dressed-up pride. Gosh you smelled good, old house. Remember?

OMG—covering all emotions—we text these 21st century days of connecting through the Cloud and, just as quickly, disconnecting.  If only it were really that easy. No, not really. I do not want to disconnect. At some point in every visit here I want to turn black-cloaked Bedouin mother, wailing and wailing for what I’ve lost. What I can’t get back. What, no matter the conversations I have right here by your front door, with me and with you, I cannot get back. Youth. Mom. Dad. Absolute Safety. Unconditional Love. A Whole Big Long Future In Front Of Me. We sort of shared all that didn’t we? Now look at us.

Hey did you know I’m coming to visit at the end of May? Memorial Day. Hot pork sandwiches and coffee at the Blackduck Café. Bright paper flowers at the family graves  in all the reds pinks golds blues of the real thing that mom loved and planted all around you. Do you remember that, old house? How the Sweet Peas smelled?

This time I’ll stay longer than I usually do. It seems the older I get the more I have to talk to you about. Partly I am afraid you’ll disappear before me. Last time you looked pretty shaky…should go to the gym like me. If I lived up here maybe your gym could be a little more than having Jack mow the field and yard once a year. Maybe we’d haul away the broken down woodshed and outhouse. But then what would I pee behind when I visit?

Sometime I promise to come up in January. You know I do think of you then. Honestly. Alone. So cold. Do you miss the cook stove and the barrel stove both going full blast, warming your heart? Me too.

Okay, well, see you end of May. Planning on being there most of the day. I’m bringing sandwiches, thermos of coffee, bottle of wine, my camera and a notebook.

We’ll talk.



One Comment on “The Old (MINNESOTA) Place

  1. How very nice. The pictures and words are so right together. Thanks for posting this. I can’t go back and talk to the houses in my life. My Grandparents farmhouse is gone…burned by a new owner who did not want to keep it up…broke my heat. The house in Bridgeville that I grew up in was torn down by the town and my Mother’s and stepfathers home was torn down to make way for something bigger and better that the landowner can make lots of money on. I have no house to talk to…just graves and I can’t very well arrive there with a thermos of coffee and sandwiches. How lucky you are to have these roots.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: