Here is the door of my mom’s house, well-remembered childhood portal. Here is the yard, and a set of wires that runs from the house to a wooden pole, and some fat birds sitting together on the wires, five of them lined up like beads on an abacus.”
– Dan Chaon
While I was uploading the front door images for the blog post today I had this thought, ”It doesn’t matter what the front door or your home looks like, the important thing is whether there is love behind that front door. If it be the love of a parent, partner, child, friend or pet makes no difference, it’s the love behind that door that makes a house a home.
The last image on this post reminds me so much of the little house my Aunty Molly lived in many years ago. She had a big heart and her real name was Frances Maude but everyone just knew her as Molly. She was one of the kindest, most patient and loving people I have ever known. She always made me feel welcome despite the fact that I was one more mouth to feed, one more drain on her time and energy and not always an easy child to have around – cheeky, a tomboy and extremely willful but she never complained and just loved me anyway. And so it was, that I spent all my weekends and school holidays between the ages of 12 and 15 with my Aunt, Uncle and four cousins.
Years before their divorce (which happened soon after my 16 year old cousin Debbie took her own life with an overdose of valium) my Aunty Molly and Uncle Sandy lived in an old face-brick railway house on the wrong side of the tracks. I mean that literally, the street they lived in was called Railway street and the railway line was directly opposite the house running parallel with the road.
Uncle Sandy was a keen pigeon enthusiast and so a large portion of their combined income went on housing, feeding and buying expensive racing pigeons and as a direct result, the family went without many material comforts. The furniture in the house was old and tatty and my aunt did all her cooking on a big old coal stove in a tiny kitchen at the back of the house. Sometimes when cash was in short supply, my boy cousin and I would walk the length of the railway track between the house and Brakpan Station, picking up bits of coal that fell from the steam locomotive as the stoker fed the firebox and we would proudly present my aunt with our “loot” when she got home from work. There was no garden to speak of, just a dirt back yard with a wire wash-line running alongside of the house. Our diet consisted of mielie pap, sugar and milk in the morning, white bread, peanut butter and syrup for lunch and I can’t remember what we had for dinner but it wasn’t ever extravagant except for Friday nights when Uncle Sandy would send us to the local shop for fresh bread, slap chips and viennas (soft, oily, vinegar drenched French fries and deep fried hotdog sausage) and a bottle of Coke, now that was a feast!
You know the funny thing about all this? We kids didn’t really notice the shabby house and poor neighbourhood, we were too busy having fun during those long summers and after all, behind the front door was Aunty Molly’s love and it was home.
All my love