Should I own up to it?
Some of my best childhood memories are of spending summers with my cousin. She lived 60 miles away in an ordinary three-bedroom ranch house with nothing special about it, but her mom made great French fries, one entire room was devoted to toys, and she had a horse. She even had a small swimming pool in the back yard.
Growing up meant the visits eventually stopped. She got married, moved to a different state, and we only saw each other at the occasional family reunion.
One day when I was driving past her town on the way to a job interview, I decided on a whim to stop by and see her parents (my aunt and uncle). They said they were home and would love to see me.
Pulling into their driveway brought a wave of nostalgia. I couldn’t help thinking how much our perspectives change when we reached adulthood. Houses look smaller, distances seem shorter, and long, lazy summer days that used to stretch for an eternity are condensed to moments that hurtle past like a runaway train.
Here I was all grown up, about to land my first job, and childhood was a hazy memory.
Where did the time go?
I was surprised when I rang the doorbell and nobody answered. I waited a few seconds and knocked.
I couldn’t understand it. They said they would be home.
Maybe they were in the back yard. Wandering around the side of the house, I noticed the pool had been bricked over and turned into a patio.
Time moves on and nothing stays the same, I mused.
Since nobody was outside, I returned to the front door.
Still no response.
My aunt and uncle were much older now. Maybe they were hard of hearing. I pushed gently and the door swung open.
Another wave of nostalgia almost brought me to tears. Here was the cozy living room where my cousin and I had spent hours playing. To the left would be the toy room. My aunt and uncle must be in the small family room in back of the house. I could hear television, punctuated by the murmur of voices and occasional laughter.
Before heading to the family room, I spotted a picture on the mantle. A picture of complete strangers.
Who the hell were these people?
That’s when it dawned on me that I was in the wrong house.
Did I go to the family room to see who was there? Own up to my mistake? You better believe I didn’t. I hightailed it out, got in my car and gunned it to the next block, where my aunt and uncle waited eagerly for my arrival.
This post is a response to being tagged by my friend Iva Ursano to write about an embarrassing thing I’ve said or done. Now I’m going to tag a few more people who can write some funny stuff. I’d love to hear from: Mark StarlinMike Range Robin Klammer Jon Scott Natalie Frank, Ph.D. (Clinical Psychology) David Caracciolo Sarah Lofgren Terrye Turpin.