The house kitty corner from mine, unofficially known as The Castle, is under construction. Originally built to house nuns, back in the 1920’s, the house has gone from being owned by the church to a few single families. In that time, astonishingly, little work has been done to keep the house up to date. For the last few years, the house was a rental property which crumbled around them until they could no longer live there and moved out. For the last several months, the house sat empty–kind of–for a short time, there were even squatters living there.
But now all of a sudden there’s been a flurry of activity and workman over there repairing the (presumed by waste materials) foundation, roof and sewer lines. Today they tore out the driveway to work on the home’s masonry and now we have hope once more that this property will house a family again; continuing to help our neighborhood thrive.
I bring all this up, not only because I’ve lived on this street most of my life, and am happy to see the old house coming back to life, but rather because seeing the workers and machinery come and go brought a wave of nostalgia concerning the boy, flooding my senses. When he was two years old or so while shopping at Target, he reached out of the cart and grabbed a book for himself to read. I didn’t mind because the book would keep him occupied while I shopped. The goal, however, was to remember to put the book down, long before we got to the check-out.
The last thing he needed was another book. At age two, while the boy could not yet read, he would spend hours looking at identifying books, similar to the one in his hand. “What’s this?” I’d ask and he’d reply “A rabbit”. “How bout this?” I’d ask pointing at a bird “A Cedar Waxwing.” “What about this?” I’d ask pointing at crappy mirror inside a book, “A bay.” He’d reply. He needed this book as much as he needed a hole in his head, but because I failed to “lose” the book before we reached the checkout, and his upfront (temper tantrum) refusal to let me discard the book, I begrudgingly allowed the cashier to ring up his purchase.
What’s more that darn book cost a whopping six dollars! Six bucks for a dumb baby book that for all I knew wouldn’t hold his attention once we left the store. “You better read this book a whoooole lot buddy bay,” I said as we left the store, still smarting from the price of a dumb book about trucks.
Later that night as I read to him from the expensive book I asked, “What’s this?” pointing to the picture on the page, “A front end loader” He replied.
This morning as I left for work, I watched two young mom’s pull out lawn chairs and place their young 2-year old boys in their laps as they watched a front end loader pull apart the driveway. Yes, boys love their trucks and mommas love their bays.