Life seems to repeat itself until lessons are finally learned. And so it is with our unanswered questions. They want answered. And when they’re not, they persistently raise their hands until they are.
Within a few months of moving into our Mesta Park home, I began to notice shadows of some of my unanswered questions climb to a higher level of consciousness, to float along side my more recent experiences and thoughts. They were the same types of questions as before, reflecting a child’s natural fascination about people they do not know, although they had grown lean while lying in the depths of childhood memories. No longer were they general in nature. They had become more particular, more focused on the old house we were now living in rather than those other homes of the neighborhood where former lives had resided. I found myself wondering what interesting stories this old house could tell if it were able. I tried to imagine what life had been like for the earliest family who lived here – the ones who painted the upstairs bedroom windows a light blue to match the sky, that I uncovered last winter when stripping them in preparation for painting. I wondered if the family had a maid who lived in the smallish servant’s quarters out back, and if so, what her everyday life was like – especially as our remodel had revealed she would have lived without insulation in the walls to keep her warm. While I was able to salvage fragments of this family’s story, it seems most is lost to history even though our home was theirs for over forty years.
Lately, I’ve come to accept that I may not need their specific details to have a sense of their story. People, then and now, are not so very different, though certainly the roles that are now mine may once have been filled by two or more. This distinction matters little to me, as collectively I know, that within these walls and across the life span of this house, women have cooked, gardened, mothered, prayed and kept house – all in order to bring comfort to those they cared most about.
Their story is mine as mine is theirs. I look forward to its unfolding.