Thursday, January 10, 2013

"It Takes a Heap of Living"

I can remember being in Philadelphia with all of my children and staying with my parents for a holiday.  The living room was torn apart in a way that only kids can do. I commented to my father how it was such a mess.  My father with his love of poetry, looked at me and said "Sweetie, remember  'It takes a heap o' livin to make a house into a home'.  I have thought of his words so many times through my life, mainly when I am franticly picking up and trying to make perfect.  But when I think of where I live, I think 'home'.

As I was leaving my house, I noticed a car driving by very slowly .  The car turned around, and, stopped across the street.  A lady popped out and politely asked me if I lived there (pointing to my house).  When I answered yes, she told me that her Grandparents had lived there and had been given, as a wedding gift, the money to build it.

She was in Boston for the weekend and was reliving her childhood memories with her husband.  Of course, I turned off my car and invited them in for a tour.  She was just delighted and kept repeating what wonderful memories she had of being there and what a happy home it had been.  She could not wait to see "the pine room" as she called my family room.   

When she saw it, she went over to the mantle and touching it, reminisced about hanging her Christmas stocking there.

In the living room, she looked up the stairs and said she had the lantern that had hung there, hanging in her own home.   

Our memories and realities can play games with us, and it did with her, she remembered the sun room as being much larger.

She loved seeing the bedroom where her mother had slept.  Mine, which had been her grandparents, then her uncle's rooms.  She did not remember the kitchen because she never needed to go into it because her grandparents had three live in housekeepers and was served her meals in the dining room.  When I heard this, all I could think of was that I am doing the work of three!  My, times have changed...

She said her grandparents lived in my home from their wedding day until their dying day and wanted to be no where else.  Having just looked up the poem that my father was quoting, I feel that it speaks about this home and the granddaughter's story.

It takes a heap o’ livin’ in a house t’ make it home,
A heap o’ sun an’ shadder, an’ ye sometimes have t’ roam
Afore ye really ’preciate the things ye lef’ behind,
An’ hunger fer ’em somehow, with ’em allus on yer mind.
It don’t make any differunce how rich ye get t’ be,
How much yer chairs an’ tables cost, how great yer luxury;
It ain’t home t’ ye, though it be the palace of a king,
Until somehow yer soul is sort o’ wrapped round everything.

Home ain’t a place that gold can buy or get up in a minute;
Afore it’s home there’s got t’ be a heap o’ livin’ in it;
Within the walls there’s got t’ be some babies born, and then
Right there ye’ve got t’ bring ‘em up t’ women good, an’ men;
And gradjerly, as time goes on, ye find ye wouldn’t part
With anything they ever used—they’ve grown into yer heart:
The old high chairs, the playthings, too, the little shoes they wore
Ye hoard; an’ if ye could ye’d keep the thumbmarks on the door.

Ye’ve got t’ weep t’ make it home, ye’ve got t’ sit an’ sigh
An’ watch beside a loved one’s bed, an’ know that Death is nigh;
An’ in the stillness o’ the night t’ see Death’s angel come,
An’ close the eyes o’ her that smiled, an’ leave her sweet voice dumb.
Fer these are scenes that grip the heart, an’ when yer tears are dried,
Ye find the home is dearer than it was, an’ sanctified;
An’ tuggin’ at ye always are the pleasant memories
O’ her that was an’ is no more—ye can’t escape from these.

Ye’ve got t’ sing an’ dance fer years, ye’ve got t’ romp an’ play,
An’ learn t’ love the things ye have by usin’ ’em each day;
Even the roses ’round the porch must blossom year by year
Afore they ’come a part o’ ye, suggestin’ someone dear
Who used t’ love ’em long ago, an’ trained ’em jes’ t’ run
The way they do, so’s they would get the early mornin’ sun;
Ye’ve got t’ love each brick an’ stone from cellar up t’ dome:
It takes a heap o’ livin’ in a house t’ make it home.

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