The Homes that Built Me

Those of you who love country music will most likely immediately recognize the Miranda Lambert reference in my title. I heard this song on the radio a week or so ago, and it really got me thinking. Here’s a link to the music video via the wonderful youtube: http://

I wish I could pinpoint the exact word or phrase that made this song resound with me. It had such an effect that I actually bought it. I hardly ever buy music. I just watch the videos over and over again on youtube 🙂

There’s something about the concept of going back to the place you grew up and recapturing who you were when you lived there. It inspired me to take a look back at the houses that built me.

The first few houses I lived in I have no true memories of, and therefore they are only houses to me. The only memories I have are created ones; stories my family told me to match the photos in old albums. The first true home I have memories of is also the site of my earliest childhood memories. It’s in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. It was a brick house with blue paneling and a blue garage door. A basic 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom home with a standard layout. From the outside, it may look like just any other house. But that house taught me a lot.

When the time came to paint the garage door, I learned stopping and smelling the roses was for amateurs. Watching paint dry is a true test of letting time go. There’s a famous phrase, something about the boredom of watching paint dry, but I found it quite beautiful. Certain parts dry faster than others, creating patterns. It was beautiful. Sitting on warm concrete, watching the sun and the paint create different shapes and images, making up stories to go along with them. This is one of my fondest memories from that house.

We had a playhouse in the backyard. A little yellow and white one room structure that stood side by side with the dog houses. Rollie Polies congregated there in the spring, and spiders chased me out during the summer. The swing set is where I first began negotiating. Having never been stung, I was terrified of anything that had that capability. While slowing my swinging arc, a bee landed on the clover directly below my swing. I bargained with it: I would try not to hurt it, or any other stinging creatures, if they left me alone. Then I jumped and bolted for the door. I think it worked. To this day, I have yet to be stung. (Knock on wood, of course). We had an above ground pool back there as well. What a journey that was. It seemed to take forever for it to be installed. When it was finally done, my sister and I would sit, clad in swimming suits, in front of the T.V., waiting for the weather report to roll around on the guide (back before Weather on the 8’s) to determine if it was warm enough (by Mom’s standards, not ours. We would have swam when it was snowing) to get in. As soon as that 82 rolled by, we’d be running for the back door.

Time changes everything. We moved from that house to another, and the pool moved with us. Years later, it was destroyed by roofing material during a small tornado. Hamsters, gerbils and lizards taught us how short life can be, and nothing beat coming home to a mile-a-minute tail wag from our dog.

More home memories coming soon. Miranda Lambert’s CD and the “House that Built Me” single is available for purchase.


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