Goodnight, Childhood Home


Here’s the view from the living room of my childhood home. It’s a picture window that looks out to the front yard, to the long twisty driveway that leads down to Point O’ Woods Road South, a cul-de-sac in Darien, Connecticut. This room and its view are special for a number of reasons; here are thirteen: 1) the living room is original to the home, built in 1936, 2) this picture window is one of the defining architectural features of the home, of which the builder was particularly proud 3) the second owner of this home, photojournalist Margaret Bourke-White spent countless hours in this room, thinking and writing, 4) she¬† lined the opposite wall with a photo-mural created out of photographs she took of a Bohemian forest, 4) it’s where she most likely spent many months valiantly fighting the disease that would eventually take her life, leaving behind a legacy so vast and impressive that I continue to be amazed by the strength and character of this woman who came of age in the 20s and 30s, 5) this is the room in which my family placed our tree at Christmas-time, 6) where we gathered for many Christmas eves with extended family to sing carols and listen to the my father read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” 7) it’s where our piano resided, where music was played, 8) it’s where a door to the left and bottom of the fireplace led to a wood shed with a very small door that opened to the outside, 9) during the middle school years, my friends and I snuck out of the house this way to roam about the Darien streets in the middle of the night, 10) it’s where a trapped squirrel hid and eventually died beneath the sofa, leaving an irreplaceable stain, 11) it’s where during certain years of my childhood while waiting for someone to pick me up, I would wait for headlights to swim up the driveway to alert me that my ride had arrived, 12) it’s where now, a new family will celebrate, gather, play, sing, hide, sneak, read, daydream, and maybe even write. 13) And, finally, this room and this house are at the center of the novel I have been writing for the past six months. I’ve realized that this story is a way for me to stay indelibly connected to this room and this home, to the driveway, the road, and its surrounding woods.

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  1. Liz! This got me, being in a sentimental mood on Christmas Eve and all. What amazing history for a home, but how sad it must be to pass the torch. I can’t wait to read your novel and to catch up on other things. I enjoy your blog, and I especially enjoyed reading tonight. Merry Christmas!

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