Sunday, July 10, 2011


I miss a lot of things about home -- the smell of the sandy Florida soil after a summer afternoon downpour, the specific varieties of grassy weeds in the yard, the gray dawn light in my childhood bedroom.

For some reason on this trip I've especially noticed the sounds of home. For example, we have a pocket door in the hall that leads to my bedroom, which my parents would close every night after they put me to bed when I was little. That door makes a very specific sound. There's a little catch as you pull it from the wall, and the tone and timbre as it slides into place is always the same. (My parents never closed the door all the way, so I didn't hear the soft thunk it would make upon contact with the wall.) I closed that pocket door on Friday morning to let Dave sleep, and it struck me how familiar that sound was.

When I was a kid, I loved lying on the other side of that door and hearing the indecipherable murmur of the television in the living room. I knew my parents were there and I was safe.

At my Dad's house, there's a grandfather clock in the living room. Like most grandfather clocks, it chimes every quarter-hour and then bongs out the time on the hour. When my brother and I visited as children, we often slept on a fold-out couch about four feet away from this clock. Needless to say, it became a kind of love-hate relationship.

There are so many other examples of familiar noises -- the air conditioners, the squeak of the front door on its hinges, even the way the toilet flushes in the acoustical environment of my bathroom. These sounds are unique to my family home. I'm enjoying hearing them all again.

(Photo: A window ornament I bought my Dad and stepmother years ago, hanging in their dining room.)

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