I was the star of the Boston Celtics from 1978-82, in fact Larry Bird said I was the best player he'd ever seen.Okay, maybe that was all in my imagination. But the drivewa right behind my head in the above photograph was the Boston Garden. That stump to the right of my ear was once a large sassafras tree with a basketball hoop and backboard. That "arena" saw a number of the "NBA greats" launching balls from all over the uneven gravel driveway (er, I mean parquet floor).
This past weekend, I went home..... well I went to where home once was. This old house behind me was where I grew up. It doesn't really look like it did then, but some will never change because they are enshrined in the hall of fame of my mind.
My bedroom was in many different places over the 22 years I lived under that roof. During my teen years, it was upstairs on the second floor. That window above the garage doubled as a door at times. I wasn't a sneak out of the house kinda kid, but I was an occasional forget my house key kinda kid. Scaling that roof and crawling in that window was..... well sorta common.
The garage was added on, along with a two story addition in the back, when I was in junior high. I never really bonded with the garage. This eliminated a side entrance into the kitchen and a playground at the end of a longer driveway where I'd learned about social constructs, city building, racing cars and running steeplechases. That driveway was perhaps the most imaginative place I have ever existed.
The garage sorta killed that place, but perhaps so did growing up.
And we all grow up.
I said I went home earlier... this is not my home. It was and there is great love and memories there, but I grew up. (Now let me just say that perhaps my parents selling the house out from under me helped me grow up, but still.)
Home is where the heart is. Home is where you find yourself. Home is your heart. This is a house on in Scituate, RI. There have been at least three families who have made this place their home. It was my home from 1966 until about 1988, when my mom and dad moved to Pennsylvania for my dad's job.
I joke that I'd still be there if they hadn't left. Thank god they left. It has allowed me a life I wouldn't have had otherwise.
But there, I know where the bodies are buried. (And by that I mean a couple of dogs named Princess and Chipper and a stay cat we never really named.) I know there is likely about $20 in lost coins under the floor boards upstairs, probably other treasures too. I'm sure there are things my brothers tucked away in the rafters, including some classic baseball and football cards that I'm sure I left behind.
This place provided me a safe haven to grow. The wet basement with its bunker like appearance allowed me to send dispatches to troops on the front lines. Later when we figured a wood stove in the winter made it a fun place to hang out, I learned how to Dream On and met Aqualung blasting from the Hot Rocks of my brothers 8-track. Yes I learned classic rock, before it was classic in this house.
I will admit one of the things I wanted to look at today was the telephone pole across the street. I'm sure it's a different pole, but that was my main target for rock and snowball throwing my entire adolescence. That old pole probably had to be replaced because of the beating I gave it. I was very accurate back then. As I went to look at it, I also remembered how I suffered from poison ivy every year of my youth because the basketball ended up in the ditch where that pole sits. So I didn't look hard for my pock mocked façade that day.
See I have grown up. I miss being young, but I prefer being old. Life is good and it gets better with age like wine, if wine had knees that ached and bills to pay.