I had time to kill before I went to my temporary job assignment this morning. It is within a mile of the house I grew up in so I had plenty of time to stop and have a look.
For a number of years I have meant to stop and ask the owners if I could take a rubbing of my brother's footprint on the sidewalk leading to the house...the footprint of an eager child tempting the fate of wet cement. He had red hair and all the charms a little boy can possess with a mischievous little smile.
Growing up I would run up that sidewalk and put my foot inside the footprint, hoping that finally my foot would fit perfectly. It was a wonderful game, all the sweeter because this was a brother I never met. I was born ten months after he passed away in an accident inside our home. he was three months shy of his fifth birthday.
It was a freak accident in a home full of running children and a multitude of remodeling projects. In those days, great big old houses were remodeled to look new inside. The sheet rock of choice was double lathe plaster and a few sheets were stacked along the wall in the long hallway. Unfortunately, those sheets fell on him and he was killed instantly.
I can only imagine how things changed but one thing I know for certain is that I don't want him to ever be forgotten. That footprint though, is no longer there. I wish I had gone there years ago. The sidewalk that is there now is not new. It is old. It is pitted. I had to remind myself that the footprint was made more than sixty years ago. I have not lived there since 1969 when I graduated from high school.
The curb we had so much skipping along is crumbling...and there is a house in our garden. The Lilacs are all gone too. So too is the huge crab apple tree the older kids climbed up to secretly smoke, telling us they were playing rocket ships.
Every thing is changed and why not! It is a whole new era. However, when I was younger a family who had lived in the house before us were happy to see the garden thriving, the Lilacs blooming and the apple tree so tall. The flowers circled two Honey Locust trees that shaded the house ( now gone) and the grass just rolled so thick to the border of the garden.
I am sentimental, sometimes sad, but I realized that time has really gone by and I still have my memories, sweeter than the reality of that sad street I saw this morning. And it is okay.