or Listen to 34 Buttonwood Lane
Out of the big house she has lived in for half of her life and into an apartment
where whe will live for the rest of it. My sister Kate says not to say
it that way... that it sounds like a death sentence.
She is giving away all the crucifixes that protected each room... she will only
need three now. One for the bedroom, one for the kitchen and one for the
room where she will do her crossword puzzles, eat Brighams vanilla ice cream,
and wait for the phone to ring.
From her quiet suburban neighborhood where she doesn't know anyone anymore...
where lilac bushes and early spring crocuses are hidden by huge SUVs... where
dogs are heard but not seen... where kids are inside staring at a screen
on a sunny day...
From a place that still has a garbage pail in the ground and a graveyard of charcoal
grills in the backyard. Where the scratchy webbing hangs from rusty lawn
chairs and a cord of rotten wood sinks deep into the soil to eventually become
with the earth.
To an apartment with a breakfast nook and a back porch. There are white plastic
chairs lining the adjoining decks where other ladies will sit out their days.
The Red Sox will be on the radio and they will talk about how they never
liked baseball until their husbands died. They like the familiar voice of
the man who calls the games and the crowd and the smack of the ball when
the batter hits it out of the park.
My sister Barb has hung all the family photos on the wall, and hung the same
curtains on the windows. Two of the best living room chairs were reupholstered
but the smell of lemon pledge and my Dad's Camel unfiltered cigarettes still
lingers in the wood frames. The faux oriental rug from that same living room
has been cleaned, stained from decades of new puppies and dinner parties.
Dinner parties where my relatives leaned on the walnut spinet in our kitchen
and sang songs like My Wild Irish Rose after a few highballs.
She will have her mail forwarded from 34 Buttonwood Lane where every weekend
it seemed like she cooked for thirty... Her arm muscles overly developed
from handmixing cakes, and cookie batter and mounds of potato salad.
From 34 Buttonwood Lane where she took in my brother's
best friend when he came back scarred from Viet Nam...
From 34 Buttonwood Lane where she waited up by the
glow of the TV to catch us sneaking in from a night of back seat romance.
From 34 Buttonwood Lane where she watched my dad
pass away with dignity in the house that he built.
From 34 Buttonwood Lane where she will leave a house
key attached to a celtic cross, and pick up a key that says East Main Street,
number 1 ... and she is.