the more they stay the same. Or so they say. They also say you can't go home again. This past weekend, I spent three days at my parent's house, two days holding a giant five-family garage sale, and the third day packing everything up and making pickles.
It was exhausting and fun and annoying and comforting and simple and complicated.
It was like being a teenager and a 75-year-old all at once.
We cleared out things from my parent's attic that have been there my whole life. My mom and dad played out their usual push-pull, which they have perfected after 53 years of marriage. My sister and I laughed and cringed, rolled our eyes and clucked our tongues. We laughed 'til we cried, and we worked until we dropped.
We sent my dad out to post signs, and later found out that he had put them up with the arrows facing in the wrong direction. The teenagers across the street got up to some serious mischief and did some really mean things during the night on Friday, and we consoled my mom about the loss of the neighborhood she used to love. We talked again of how it might be best if they moved, which always, always brings tears to her eyes.
I found books I read as a child, and books I read as a teenager. All these years, my parents have kept these boxes in their attic, never once asking me to come and clear them away to give them more space. My sister and brother and I reminisced about funny things we did together as children, remembering the way our street used to be when we were kids: we all knew each other, we all played together, the entire street held a game of hide and seek almost every night during the summer.
It was the kind of neighborhood where cups of sugar were always being borrowed, everyone helped each other out, watched out for each other's children, shoveled snow for the older residents, left doors unlocked.
All of that has changed. It's not the same.
There are still a few people, like my parents, who own the houses they live in and have lived there forever. But most of the street has been converted to rentals, and the sense of neighborhood has been replaced by college kids and other folks who come and go too quickly to invest themselves in their surroundings.
It really is enough to make you wish for the good old days.
And though I know there is no going back, there is only forward, I wish, for my parent's sake, that they could recapture just of bit of the way of life they used to have on their quiet side street in a quaint small town. I wish they could live out their days in the home they love and feel safe with a sense of community. I wish they could regain what they have lost.
I used to sit on that porch and read for entire days in the summer. And I find myself wishing for a little bit of that, too.
But, to all things, there is a season. I guess they say that as well, don't they?