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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Cetti House Revisited-Again

I don't have it in me to blog today.  So I went to "blog vault" and found this piece that I posted awhile back.  For those that have read it before, please indulge me again, for those that have not, I hope you enjoy it and I promise to be back with something awesome soon! 

The other day I was driving around and soon found myself in familiar surroundings. -the neighborhood where I grew up. So much had changed and yet, so much remained the same. We lived in a neighborhood that is called the Near Northside. (by way of Houston, Texas.)  Close to downtown but not in downtown. Our neighborhood was in the "barrio".   There was an array of Mexican restaurants to choose from in case you got a case of the "I'm hungries", and if by chance, you happened to bust a strap on your footwear, or scuff your shoe on the cement, why, there was a "shoe-hospital" place at the corner. Or if you were in serious need of an "adult" beverage, there was liquor store on the opposite corner of the block. See?  Convenience at it's finest folks! A win-win situation if you asked me! 

Our house lined the block behind the aforementioned businesses.  The street was quiet, small, quaint, and modest homes stood beside each other. Ours was the third house from the left, on Cetti street. It was grey with dark black trim, (which changed to yellow with white trim soon after we moved in because my mom said so) and there was a giant Oak tree that shielded our home from the sun. Surprisingly, it even survived Tropical Storm Alicia back in the early eighties.  I remember during that storm how it shook it's leaves and threatened to topple onto our home, but luckily, we were spared.  That tree also served as the official sign holder in our neighborhood.  Because it was so huge and so sturdy, we, along with neighbors always posted our signs for Garage Sales or missing pets on it.  It also served as first base.  See, back then, we played baseball on the street.  First base was our tree, second base was our neighbors mailbox, third base was the neighbor across the street's grass and home was whatever object we found that could be easily moved if a car came by.  Ha, ha, good times.  Sadly, as soon as we sold our house, the new owner had the tree cut down.

As I drove by today, I stopped right in front my former home. The sight of it gave me goosebumps as memories started pouring in.   Just as I was about to drive away, the front door opened and the "mom owner", spotted me, waved and started walking toward my car. In Spanish, she greeted me, asked how I was and did I want to come in? As if to entice me, she told me she had just made some rice pudding. I didn't have the heart to tell her that I hated rice pudding! I think I'm the only one in my family that does! I got out of my car and walked in with her. Explaining that I could only stay a minute.

Upon entering I was immediately transported back to 1977 -the year we moved in. The "mom owner" (sorry I keep referring to her like that but I don't want to use her name) told me to feel free to take a look around. And boy did I! My first stop was my old room. Well, it actually belonged to my sister and I. We shared a room until I was almost twenty.   -I can't believe we didn't kill each other before that!  The room (well the entire house actually) had hardwood floors. ONE medium sized closet -can you believe it? One closet for two girls? To say that we had catfights would be an understatement. There were three large windows embracing our room. I had the left side and my sister had the right side. Or as I used to say, I had the "neat" side and she had the "messy" side.  Without thinking I sat on the bed that now occupied the room.  Besides the cat fighting my sister and I did, we also shared many secrets, dressed for milestones, birthdays, graduations, weddings (not ours of course), sleepovers, pillow-fights and giggle fests.  This is also where I used to cram for exams.  I'd shut the door and hole myself in here and drive my sister nuts because I wouldn't turn the light off and she would be in here trying to sleep.  Sigh, a lifetime ago...

I walked out of that room and could almost hear our laughter reverberate through the walls.  The next stop was my parents room, I stood at the doorway, staring at the bed that was now there, again remembering the many times my brothers and my sister and I would go in there for comfort, or money (ha), or to watch tv with them, or just to lay beside my mom as she brushed my hair at night. It's also where the yelling and screaming and hate spewed out of.  Not many happy times here.  This is the room my parents almost destroyed themselves when they were together. 

The sound of the phone ringing brought me back to reality. I took a quick glance at the rest of the house. The dinning room was always my favorite room of the house.  My mom always made us sit together for our meals at the table. Together.  Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Even our snacks were at the table and together.  This was the time we asked about our day or just listened to my mom go on and on about whatever was on her mind that day.  My dad seldom was present at these sittings.  Usually he was at work or asleep our just "out".   Moving on, I went and stood in the living room and recalled how our house was Grand Central Station back in the day. Our home, for whatever reason, was the meeting place for our friends. It was always full of kids, friends, friends of friends, family. Never a quiet moment. It was also the party house of the block. We had parties to beat ALL parties! And don't get me started about Christmas! Oh my gosh! Music, always music (salsa, merengue, boleros, cumbias, rock, oldies) you name it, we heard it! And dancing, lots of dancing! I could almost smell the scent of our home from way back then...

The "mom owner" appeared, having finished her phone call, came up to me and  gave me a big hug. Told me not to be a stranger, that my family and I were welcome anytime. She handed me a  Ziploc plastic container filled with rice pudding. I thanked her and walked out of the house.

Walking to my car I glanced at the street.  Everything seemed so small now, so old.

Sigh, sometimes driving to "nowhere in particular" takes you on the road home.

5 comments:

Underground Dude said...

Trips down memory lane can be...well, a trip. Sounds like yours was a pleasant one :)

Yvonne said...

Ha! It was, it was!

Belle said...

I had to share a room with my older sister many times. My parents moved a lot so sometimes I got my own room. It isn't easy to share a room with a sister! I'm so glad you were able to go back and see your childhood home.

Yvonne said...

Belle- yeah, it was really cool!

Jo-Anne Rambling said...

This morning while taking my grandson to school we drove past the house I lived in when I was his age 5yrs and pointed it out to my daughter. It feels good to drive past the old houses and it always bring back good memories..........