You Cannot Go Home Again

I actually have alot of things that I could post about today. I was going to post regarding my Mom’s and Melissa’s recent trip to Seattle to visit. However, that post will have to wait, because my Mom called me with some pretty major news today. Our home in Pensacola sold. I am pretty sad about this, if for no other reason because I was hoping it would still be on the market when I went home to Pensacola in September so I could say a proper goodbye to my childhood home. Oh, and also so I could enjoy the pool. Unfortunately, this will not be the case, as the house closing is set for July 31.

Thus, I would like to take a moment and pay homage to my family home on Timber Ridge Road.
We had other homes before we moved to Pensacola. When I was born, we called a trailer park in Starkville, Mississippi home.

I have to be honest; I remember nothing about life in the trailer. I know that during severe thunderstorms we would go park the truck under highway overpasses because my Mom was afraid of tornadoes, but that is about it. We didn’t stay there very long. When Dad completed his degree from Mississippi State, we moved to Columbia, Mississippi and an actual house (that was rented). We were not there for very long.

Mom and Dad bought their first house outside of Monticello, Mississippi.

I actually do have recollections of this home. I remember playing Barbies in the living room. I remember the big fireplace in the family room.

I also very distinctly remember the white fence that enclosed the pasture on our property. It was where our horse, Pete, called home. Sidenote – last time I checked, Pete was still alive! After Ma-Maw passed away, Dad gave the horse to someone else who last reported Pete was still alive.

When I was four years old, my parents announced we were moving to Pensacola, Florida. For the better part of my life, that has been the place that I have called home. The first time my parents took me to see our new house on Timber Ridge Road, I remember looking in one of the sliding glass doors from the back porch. My dad pointed inside to the small door underneath the stairs, “That will be your room, Leslie,” he joked. It didn’t become my room, but a place where we stored Christmas decorations, and our flannel board stories collection. That house became our home (with the exception of an eight month stint at the Mint Hill house in North Carolina).

That same back porch from which I first viewed “my room” became the backdrop for new Sunday morning photo sessions.In 1984, we made what was probably our favorite investment in the house by adding the swimming pool. It seemed as kids, we just instinctively knew how to swim.

We also liked it when Dad would throw us in the pool.

The diving board to the pool also proved its utility in other ways; it also was a great place to stand in our dance recital costumes for pictures.

In general, when I think about backyards, our backyard in Pensacola will always come to mind as what a back yard should be. It started out almost completely shaded by trees. Building the pool took down some. Successive hurricanes took down many others. Nonetheless, my favorite Live Oak trees made it through and still stand. It might have lacked a garden, but in addition to the pool, it had a basketball court, a trampoline, and at least a few dog houses. As more and more trees came down, the lawn grew and grew, becoming too large for a push lawn-mower. Our dogs loved our back yard, although it wasn’t until Ralph came along and started swimming that a dog took full advantage of all that the backyard had to offer. His digging also caused some stress to my parents, obsessed with having a nice backyard and also not having tremendous holes in the ground making lawn mowing more difficult.

The front yard was so heavily wooded when we originally moved into the house that one could not see the house from the street. Hurricanes through the years took out most of the tall pines, but most of the live oaks made it through. Mom and Dad planted more and more azalea bushes through the years as well. The front yard and porch also became a favorite picture backdrop.

It was a good picture spot even when one sister was sad because the other sister was able to hold two Cabbage Patch dolls, while she only got to hold one.

In later years, the front yard still was a favorite family photo spot.

Inside our house, as teenagers we would complain that we couldn’t get enough privacy. The rooms of the house were large and open. Nonetheless, the rooms were a good setting for many activities:

Observing crazy dogs tearing on Christmas wrapping paper rampages.

Riding Barbie Big-Wheelers where they ought not to have been.

And of course practicing the clarinet while exhibiting unfortunate middle school hairstyle choices.

The simple fact is, our Pensacola home will always be synonomous with my childhood. There are too many memories to go into greater detail here. I could go on and on about the backyard cook-outs, the high school Final Four parties that ended with me in tears, the holiday celebrations, the creepiness of the wooden stairs creaking late at night, the storms we made it through, etc. etc. etc. It is just too much.

654 Timber Ridge, you will be missed. You were the setting for the soul of our family.

This means I have alot of emergency contact information that I will need to change.

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