I bought a house. Way ahead of schedule for what my original plans were. I thought it would be at least a couple more years before I was in a position to buy, but sometimes things work out. It’s a great house, built in 1972, and had only one owner until I bought it last month. The gentleman that bought the house almost 50 years ago passed away in January. It does need a few minor things taken care of, but it got a brand-new roof and a complete electrical re-wire before closing. The seller was extremely accommodating in selling the house she grew up in.
The move was a huge pain, not fun. The closing had to be moved back a week, so I was worried about getting out of the condo I was renting by the time I said I would. On top of that, Hurricane Sally was approaching the Gulf Coast. And to make matters more stressful for me, I was the on-call guy at work for the week that my closing got pushed to. We got our stuff moved in just before the weather deteriorated, all while working in between moving loads of stuff from one place to another. And then the storm hit. I worked a total of 17 days in a row. I haven’t even come close to getting settle in yet at my new home. But, I’m here, and I’m happy. Things will fall into place as they will. No hurry.
During my move I found many memories while packing. It’s amazing to find stuff you haven’t seen in years and relive old times while going through closets and boxes. One thing I found was a brick. Just a simple, red brick. It has no monetary value. It’s not pretty or decorative. But it might be the last one left of the bricks that were part of my grandparents’ house which was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. They had already sold that house at the end of Beach Bayou Rd in Biloxi, Mississippi years before, but my childhood memories of it still remained.
Grandma had all the Tupperware you would expect in a house during that era. She had a tan sugar dish with a lid that opened on both sides. Open one side and it pours out from a small hole; the other side was big enough to put a spoon in. Of course, she had the orange pitcher with the push down lid. Is Tupperware even a thing anymore? Grandpa had a music room where he composed. I don’t know if he did his paintings in there as well, or just his music. I have all his music somewhere in a box that hasn’t been unpacked yet. I always loved his music. I have a number of his paintings as well, at least one of which is already hanging here at my new house.
From when I was a child visiting my grandparents’ house, I can remember looking at the stars with my uncle out in the yard and him taking me on the water in his blue fiberglass boat; only time I’ve caught a shark. I remember my aunt and cousins living in the next house up the road. We had way too much fun as kids jumping ditches up and down the street. Grandma would always fuss at us for that because of the snakes in the ditches. We never got bit. I remember the times my sister and I would spend the night at the red brick house on the bayou. So many wonderful memories. And all that’s left from that house is a brick.
In 1969, Hurricane Camille devastated the Mississippi Coastal area. At that time, it was one of the most intense hurricanes to make U.S. landfall. It was a Category 5 storm. Camille brought 7 ½ feet of water into my grandparents’ home. When the water receded and the sun came out, they cleaned and rebuilt. As far as fixing the damage to their home, they left only the watermark in the detached laundry room as a reminder of how high the water had come. Basically, their house was underwater except for the roof. In 2005, when I finally got through on the phone to my grandparents after Katrina, I asked how it compared to Camille. My grandfather told me Katrina made Camille look like an afternoon thunder storm.
My first opportunity to go to Biloxi after Katrina was in early in 2007, for my grandfather’s funeral. While there, I took my oldest boy and explored the area, giving him a glimpse into an early childhood chapter of my life. We went by the old house on Beach Bayou Rd. As we drove down to where the road disappears into the bayou, I couldn’t see the house. It was gone. Only the foundation and a few bricks that still made a small corner of the house remained. I wanted to cry. It was all gone. Only the memories remain.
I took a brick that day. I still have it. It just sits on a window sill in my bedroom at my new home. It’s place at the condo I moved from was on the window sill in my bedroom there. Before that, it was on the very top of a small wall unit in my now ex-wife’s house. There’s no elaborate display for it. No fancy case. No markings as to where it came from or how it got here. It’s just a brick. But it’s all that’s left from some of my most cherished childhood memories. It mostly stays of sight, I barely notice it’s there. Most days I don’t even think about it.
Maybe our memories are like that brick. Out of sight, out of mind. Then once in a while we notice. Something prompts us to take a walk down memory lane. Hopefully good memories, but it can go both ways. I hope your memories are like my brick, mostly good. Thanks for enjoying my memories with me today. Good day, God bless.