The Walls Hold Happiness

There is a brightness to their house, like the walls have soaked up all the happiness they’ve witnessed and now just glow with the warmth and love. My mom actually grew up in this house, which is something I find fascinating. When she tells stories of high school, I can see her and her friends, skipping around the house, flirting with boys and eating my grandma’s cooking. In the foyer, there is a mirror. When I look into it, I see shadows of my mother, making sure every hair was in place before she smiled out the door on her Friday night date. It fascinates me, seeing my mother in all the items that became so familiar to me throughout my childhood.

Maybe that’s why their house always fascinated me, why I always crept around, examining knick knacks and running my fingers over photos from the past. Their house is a collection of lives, of experiences–it holds memories of my mother as young girl, as a teen, and then as a mom herself, bringing her children to visit. Everyone is so transient these days, with new jobs and different opportunities enticing them to city after city, house after house. But there is a sense of comfort in a house that has known one family for so long. The walls know things, the house breathes.

Isn’t my mom just stunning? I’ve been told that I look like her…a definite compliment.

My uncle’s room still looks much like it did when he was in high school. I used to stand and stare these bottles, a preserved octopus bobbing in each, bulging eyes staring back at me. They’ve always been there, and I think they always will be.

My grandma’s perfume collection is beautiful. The curved glass sitting on a delicate tray, reminiscent of the past, a timeless tribute to loveliness.

My brother and I would run to the big leather chairs, our little fingers diving into the cushions searching for grandpa’s loose change.

The pool used to be surrounded by plants, a lagoon in the middle of my grandma’s jungle. The lizards were underfoot, and my hands caught more than I could count.

The sweet, tangy, overwhelming smell of oranges will always take me back to Grandma and Grandpa’s house, no matter how old I am or how many miles I am away from Winter Haven.


0 thoughts on “The Walls Hold Happiness

  1. Mom

    Dear Anwen,

    Wow! What a treasure!!! Thank you so much for taking those pictures and for what you wrote. It’s funny what you said about the foyer mirror. You’re dead on. That was definitely the stop before each big date – every date, plus every time my Mom made us a new dress, we stood and admired it in that mirror. I’ve looked in that mirror and the ones in my bathroom and bedroom there and tried to take in that those same mirrors had seen me since I was three years old. You took a picture in the outside room of a pile of things, including a pile of some of our teenage record albums. Did you know that on the top was our original 45 record player? My Dad found it in the attic. My Mom would take us to the record store often, where we would buy a new 45 record of the latest hit for $1.00 and come back and play it on that record player. That thing got a lot of use. And did I tell you where those octupi came from? We were collecting shells after a hurricane had washed tons of them up on the West Coast, probably Indian Rocks Beach. I looked down in my bucket of shells and there was a baby octopus climbing on them. Of course, we had to take it home and then preserve it in formaldehyde or alcohol. They went to several show and tells. Yep! There are a lot of memories in that house and the fact that my parents are still there is a marvel to me. Thank you so much. That was a gift to all of us Thomases. Love, Mom


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