The oil furnace in the laundry room next to my bedroom bangs and groans as it comes on, the aluminum expanding with the sudden blast of heat at 6 a.m. every morning, summer and winter; no need to consult the clock. Voices still carry through the heat registers between the floors, mostly my mother’s on the phone or with her morning caregiver; sometimes I can almost hear my father’s voice, long silenced. The voices and footfalls and kitchen sounds no longer wake me up, as I rise before my mother these days. And now also I hear my mother’s night breathing through the baby monitor that connects my bedroom downstairs to her’s upstairs, a stark reminder of what has changed.
The room itself no longer smells of sawdust and varnish, since Daddy moved his shop to a new space over the carport after he retired, and it became my mother’s craft room with its worktable bought from JC Penney where it displayed bolts of fabric before Penney's moved out of downtown Centralia. Now the room is mostly storage (as is the replacement workshop). A shelf still stores the white-painted, compartmented wood boxes Daddy made to hold our camp kitchen needs; long empty. The pegboard with my organized father's outlines of the tools that used to hang there, the ghosts of what was, occupies the wall next to the workbench that still holds miscellaneous screws and string and things in its drawers.
project I found in Better Homes and Gardens when my first child was a baby; the crewel pillow (the only crewel I ever did) in the chair in the guest room; the work of my cross-stitch period after my second child was born, mostly moved－thankfully－to less prominent spots; the photo art quilt of my parents’ courtship and favorite places, on the headboard of my mother’s bed and 3-D fabric art, on the organ shelf－empty nester projects. And, still at it, the felt birds I just completed to hang from the dining room light fixtures that my father created.
Much has changed over the years, too: the floor coverings, the painted, papered, and back to painted walls; the addition of blinds on the windows that span the front of the house; most but not all the furnishings; repurposed rooms. Newer pots and pans have joined the old Revereware, crowding the cabinets because nothing is thrown out.
Come back tomorrow and I will take you outside.