Saunders Drive. On the right corner stood the library, looking exactly as it did the last time I saw it. Diagonally across the street was the church we attended every Sunday, the preacher bellowing about morals and principles. Directly across from the church was a quaint-looking inn with a sign over the doorway – “Welcome, Travellers!” And on the fourth corner was the big Victorian house where the Casey family lived. Jeff Casey was my first boyfriend. Now there was a prominent shingle on the front lawn which read JEFFREY CASEY, M.D. A doctor! I never should have broken up with him!
My childhood house was a stone’s throw from the Casey’s. Not quite ready to see the old place just yet, I kept walking. About halfway down Main Street, I came across a boho chic coffee shop/poet’s corner called “Beggars, Cynics and Diogenes”. A pretty young woman wearing a rainbow tie dyed hippie skirt was preparing lunch tables outside. She smiled pleasantly at me and asked if I’d like a table.
“Why not” I replied and she handed me a menu. I was engrossed in reading when I became aware of a man standing nearby. Looking up I was pleasantly surprised to see the still handsome face of Jeff Casey grinning at me.
“Rebecca Gardner! My God! What’s it been – 20 years? What brings you back to town?”
“Jeff!” I exclaimed happily. “You look great!” and I instinctively hugged him. “Please join me.” We sat and the waitress took our order.
“Twenty years exactly. My folks sold the house when I left for college. Honestly, I’m not sure why I’m here. Memories, you know?”
We caught up on life … marriages, divorces, etc., and I mentioned going to see my old house but for whatever reason I was nervous.
Jeff tossed a twenty on the table and said “Come on. Let’s go together.” And before I could think of an excuse, we were on our way.
“The Matthews live here now. Nice family.” Jeff bounded up the front steps and rang the doorbell. No answer.
“Jeff, look. These are my handprints on the cement steps! And remember when we buried my favorite dog under that oak tree?”
“Riley – that sweet old beagle” Jeff responded, shocking me that he remembered.
“Right there in the parlor was where I learned to play piano. And upstairs in the back was my little bedroom where I did my homework and listened to the radio. You know, when I left here I thought I’d find myself, but I ended up getting lost. If I could go inside I might find myself again and I wouldn’t take a thing – just a memory from the house that built me.”
We slowly walked up Saunders Drive to Jeff’s place. “Well, I’ve got patients to see” he said.
“And I’ve got a train to catch” I replied. “Can I call you sometime, Jeff?”
“Anytime, Becca. By the way, I make house calls.” He smiled warmly and disappeared inside.
NAR © 2019