Sunday, April 22, 2018
Josh slowly drove his 1960 Chevy Corvair down Edgewood Dr. It was mid April, year 1973.
It had been at least two years since he had returned home. After graduating from high school Josh accepted a music scholarship to Ithaca College. He left home as soon as he could. He was determined not to be like the rest of the men in his family and join the military. Josh didn’t want to be like his older brother Jake and enlist into the army to go fight the communists over in Vietnam. He knew this disappointed his father, but Josh didn’t care.
He was tired and ready to get out of the car. The 630-mile drive from Ithaca, New York to Indiana was draining. He drove through a few unexpected early spring snow flurries that set back his arrival time.
He noticed the car seemed to naturally make the gentle left turn off of Edgewood Drive and onto the driveway to his parent’s house.
He pulled his Corvair up to the garage door, turned off the engine. The engine chugged over a few times before coming to a stop. Then Josh noticed the silence inside the cab of his car. No engine noise, road noise. The silence marked the end of his trip. He had arrived back to his childhood home.
He looked out his driver’s side window and up to his old bedroom window on the second floor of the house. The memories started rushing to Josh’s mind.
That was the window that Jake and I used to climb out of at night to go run around the neighorhood, Josh though to himself. It was the only window on the second level that we could climb out of and shimmy down to the roof of the covered porch below. From there we could walk to the backside of the porch and jump down into the backyard.
Josh then realized that he was being watched by his father who was sitting in the rocking chair on the porch.
Josh opened his car door to get out. He walked slowly to the screen door of the porch and opened it.
His father greeted Josh.
“Hello, Josh. How was your drive?”
“It was long. I’m glad it’s over.”
“Sounds like your car needs a tune up, maybe a carburetor overhaul. I don’t like the way it chugged after you turned the key off,” his father said.
Josh said, “Yeah, it started doing that a about a week ago. I’ll have it checked out when I get back to New York.”
“Maybe we can look at it together before you drive back. We might be able to fix together,” his father said.
Josh dismissed his father and said, “It’s kind of chilly out. Seems like spring is sleeping in this year. Where’s Mom? You shouldn’t be outside in this cool air.”
“Now you’re starting to sound like your mother. Your mom… I don’t know she’s… she’s upstairs in bed still. She knew that you would be arriving some time today but… with the news of Jake… I don’t know….” said Josh’s father as he readjusted himself in the rocking chair. His signs of uneasiness made Josh uncomfortable.
“Well, can I go in and say hi to her?” Josh asked.
His father shifted more in his chair and said, “Perhaps you can go in and make up some coffee. You still drink coffee? I’d like some coffee. Why don’t you go in get us some coffee then come back out and sit with me. With Jake gone and all, I think it’s best to let your mom rest. Yeah, coffee, what do you say?”
Josh nodded and opened the back door of the house that went right into the kitchen.
He stood just inside the door looking around.
He heard his father ask, “What do you think of the new paint in the kitchen? Painted it just after Christmas.”
Josh responded, “Its very green. Almost avocado green. It matches the refrigerator.”
Josh’s father said, “Your mother loves it. I can’t stand it. Too bad our Jake won’t ever get see it.”
“Do you still like sugar and cream in your coffee dad?” asked Josh, knowing full well that his father only drank black coffee.
“Just messing with you dad. I’ll get us coffee,” Josh said as he closed the back door.
Josh found the coffee percolator in the dish rack next to the sink. He filled it with water and put coffee grounds in the strainer. He put the lid on, set the percolator on the stovetop, and lit the burner.
Josh wandered into the dining room. He rested his hand on the long table. He could hear the laughter of his brother from Christmas dinners passed.
He walked into the living room. The couch and two chairs were in the same place as they had always been. The two chairs sat on ether side of the fireplace and the couch faced opposite to the fireplace and chairs.
The upright piano that he learned to play on was still in the same place. Josh walked over to it, opened the lid with his right hand. Thinking of his mother upstairs, Josh slowly started to close the lid but with his left hand gently pressing down on two “D” keys.
Josh wandered back into the kitchen to check on the coffee. It hadn’t even started to boil. So he went down to the basement. The basement stairs were just off the kitchen. It was a dry basement with a black and white checkered tile floor.
He slowly walked around, having all kinds of childhood flashbacks. That’s the corner where Jake and I built blanket forts. They would see who could hop on one leg the longest--only hoping on the black tile squares. They would spend hours and hours playing in the basement.
There was a storage closet where they would store board games.
Josh opened the closet to see if the monopoly game was still there.
As he opened the door he saw etch marking on the side of the door. This was the door that he and Jake would measure their height growing up as kids. A growth chart.
Now the previous story is fiction.
My wife and I recently made an offer to buy the house at 115 Edgewood Dr. We ended up not buying the house, but the start of this story popped into my head as a result of going through the process of potentially buying 115 Edgewood Drive. An older home that I’m sure has many stories to tell only if those walls could talk.
We hired a home inspector to come and inspect the house.
It was during that time that I found the growth chart of Jake and Josh. It’s there, in the basement, on the door to the storage closet.
I found myself looking for signs of the past when I go into older homes. Who lived here? What did they do? Were they happy? How many Christmas dinners were in this home? How many times has the lawn been cut? What color where the walls prior to being painted with new paint… “Freshly painted interior,” as described in the description on the home listing.
By the way, the kitchen is currently painted in a teal shade now. Up around the crown molding on the ceiling I found that 70s avocado green. The painter didn’t do a good job of covering it up with the white paint they used on the ceiling.
Who were Jake and Josh and what really happened to them? Why didn’t they take down the door with their growth chart?