Tag Archives: Home

Moving Home: Balancing my “Big Family”, my “Little Family”, and the Space Between

A new chapter.

I have been MIA for a while, but for good reason: Jason and I moved back to Wisconsin. We decided after several frustrating conversations, that neither of us were happy. He wasn’t happy with his graduate work since it was far from what he actually wants to do, and I wasn’t happy working as a receptionist. I am a writer. I am a teacher. There is no creativity in doing menial bitch-work for 5 business owners. Neither of us felt like ourselves and we didn’t feel much like the “us” that we want to be.

wisconsin

So much has happened lately that I can’t seem to keep up. After a year away from my friends and family, I feel overwhelmed. My first week home I felt like I was trying to make everyone happy and cram a year’s worth of quality time into a few days. I missed Jason and our cats – my Little Family. My Big Family, my friends and family of origin, wanted to spend as much time with me as possible; which is great, and I want to spend time with them, but it was difficult to take in all of the invitations and events without turning others down. I was glad for Jason to come home at the beginning of the next week.

4th

I am from Oshkosh. My Big Family is in Oshkosh. Jason is from South Milwaukee. Right now, my Little Family is living in South Milwaukee. I love my Big Family, but it is nice to have an hour and a half of highway between us while my Little Family figures out where we want to be and how we fit back into Wisconsin.

mlk to osh

The House on Oak Street

With the seasons changing so rapidly here in Canada, I start thinking about the holidays and back home. Here is a fairly nostalgic poem about my childhood home.

 

The House on Oak Street

Mindy M. Wara

 

Spring awakens Mom’s sunny tulip cups

along-side the white house, mint

in 1991, when Dad first drew out the “For Sale” sign

as if he were Arthur pulling the sword from the stone.

My sister and I can never resist the urge to pluck

the tulip heads from their stalks, mashing them

into potions along with poison berries.

We were warned never ever to eat them,

but I made her try one once. She was fine.

 

As the last puddles of spring evaporate,

I drag the storm-blown birch stick

through my dad’s left-over rainbowed gasoline spots

on the driveway. The iridescent spectrum swirls in on itself.

I discover I am an artist, not a mechanic,

as my father had anticipated,

though the grease stained coolots and jumpers

in the hamper suggest otherwise.

 

Dead geraniums allude to autumn,

hanging their weary wilting heads

in the planter below the mailbox.

The cheapest pumpkins

we could find at Fernau’s stand guard,

etched with the scariest faces Dad’s knife can carve,

the orange mucus, guts, and seeds

our fingers squish around in

is left crusted to the table for Mom to clean up.

 

Peering out the living room window,

I see blue snow under streetlamps.

It takes over the yard, the jungle gym,

the windows as I lick and stick the snowflake window clings,

readying the house for reindeer and grandparents,

offering Christmas warmth from the muted world.

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What vivid memories do you associate with your childhood? Please comment and share!