Lucy Crowe's Nest: November House

Thursday, November 14, 2013

November House

Walls and windows. Hardwood floor - scarred by the memory of a child’s roller skates - and a narrow, enclosed stairway. (We painted the steps SpongeBob Blue a dozen years ago, and I have played hell matching that color ever since.)  We've added on, jacked up, mudded and sanded. New roof, new bedroom, foundation repair, windows replaced all around.
Our house has been tucked into the base of Cemetery Hill for so long it is not hard to imagine horse-drawn farm wagons lumbering past, and my children were the third generation of our family to toss maple spinners in the front yard. All of which is to say that our home belongs as much to the past as the present; and that has always felt exactly right.        
            But, particularly in November, the line between seems rather blurred.
November is the month of All Souls, and the seventeenth was my grandfather’s birthday, as well. This late in the season, there is already a bite in the wind, and nightfall comes early, twilight seeping through the blinds and throwing plum colored slats across my living room floor. It’s not hard to envision my younger self sprawled on the carpet with siblings and cousins, chin in hands, while my grandparents showed vacation slides.
            “How are you?” My grandmother’s voice, forever paired in my memory with the music of front door chimes. Short little woman, she wore flowered dresses and round spectacles, and on November seventeenth she would have made a two-layer cake and kept if from our incautious fingers by means of a pink plastic carrier.
            Funny what your mind chooses to keep. I could pick that cake caddy out of a hundred others.    
            But often the smallest retrospection is the one that stays with us the longest. Scent of butter cream frosting, sound of first sleet ticking on windowpanes. Comforting backdrop of adult voices. We keep these things in the whirlpool of memory and forget we even have them until they surface again.

  Usually in the fall, always in November.

(My grandparents were the first family members to own our home. This is their wedding picture, taken in 1929, and I just had to include this picture of Grandma. Wasn't she gorgeous? My sister still has the dress she is wearing here.)

Related Post:  Spring has its own form of nostalgia, in "Frog Song".    

"....The frog song brings the little girl back, and I can see her almost as plainly as I see my own children –  Here in the same yard, beneath the magnolia, and trailing up the hill after lightning bug..."


  1. What a beautiful post! November always feels like a "thin" month to me also.

    1. Thanks Susan! Yes, isn't it funny? Even more so than October


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