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The House on Old Forge Road
In the darkness of the night, ghostly presences masquerade around the house on Old Forge Road. Soldiers have marched these roads that intertwine with the house itself. A war has been fought in the vicinity of the first place I have called “home.” Even though it is situated in the area of a historical marker, the house is a book to my past, too. It contains all the history I have experienced. The memories made with my family in that house overpower any ghostly appearance that may be found from history.
I have taken a trip back to my past to see the house that first welcomed me into the world. Nestled in the cozy small town of Providence Forge, Virginia, I stand directly in front of the house looking straight up at its bearing stature. I can’t help but notice the warmth and acceptance that beams off of the house. Between the long gravel road that welcomes you to the front door, the forest-green paint with bright white trim on the house made completely of wood, and the closure from the towering pine and oak trees that embrace your presence, proclaim the house as far from ordinary.
Before entering the house, I take a peek around to the backyard. The tall, green grass crunches every step I take, and a light breeze blows the smell of pine and crisp, clean air directly into my face. The open green field, and trees that set the boundary for a fence, lead the way to my favorite old swing set. It may be simple (just two rusty pink swings and a flimsy tin slide), but it has a great view of the entire house. As one of the swings is lightly swaying in the wind, I sit down and rock back and forth, envisioning my way into the family room.
The family room is the heart of the house. The dull-looking, cream-colored carpet with a repetitive diamond floral pattern still sits on the floor. An oversized brown television cabinet clings to the wall perpendicular to the back door with a breathtaking view of the green surroundings. The old-fashioned plaid sofa awaits human presence as I remember as a toddler laying all sprawled out with my oldest sister watching the television show Baywatch almost daily. The room smells of electrified dust from the running television. Directly above the television stand are four perfectly aligned photos of Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia. While it gives the house its historical feel, the family room is the place our family gathered. A blank corner houses a Christmas tree yearly as relatives would join us in the celebration. We would watch the powder-like snow fall graciously in the backyard, and listen to the perfectly-pitched carolers who stepped upon our doorstep.
I direct my eyes now to the kitchen, a room filled with the smell of warm chocolate chip cookies freshly baking in the oven, while the air still remains cold and lively. The sound of the oven beeps when my mother’s masterpieces are done, and the clashing of metal pots and pans being washed in the rather small sink are quite the norm in this household. The floor is made of real, thick hardwood—the only kind used in Virginia. Cabinets made of a chestnut-colored wood and dingy gold knobs hold all the baking essentials my mom would ever need. The white particle-like countertops lead the way to our kitchen table which presents itself for our daily family meals. I see my high-chair sitting lonesome in the corner. I remember sitting there with a glass of milk blowing bubbles through my straw.
Startled, I am brought back down to Earth as I realize that I’m laughing out loud at one of my favorite memories. I look around at my surroundings and can’t help but notice what sounds like millions of little crickets chirping in the distance. The air is noticeably cooler now, but I focus my thoughts back towards the house.
Personally, one of my favorite rooms in the house is the playroom. It may have a plush, light pink carpet and smell of stale Fruity Pebbles and Goldfish, but this playroom is like a gym to me. Bigger than at least two average-sized bedrooms combined, all of my favorite toys lay restlessly all over the floor. In one corner sits a pink-and-white plastic children’s kitchen that I would bring to life every day. As I slowly scan the room, I notice my favorite neon-green stuffed dinosaur that would make the most annoying squealing sound when you would squeeze it. As I look out the front window, I can see my neighbors’ house directly across the street, which reminds me of the times my friend Emory would come over and play. The room feels fairly bare and empty, but after all, it is only filled with my toys.
I step into the hallway and walk into the dining room. The bare, off-white colored walls leave me feeling blank. The brown wood trim along the ceiling matches the hardwood floor that adds a simple charm to the house. In the middle sits an old wood table with four uncomfortable chairs. I look at the cream-colored rug that reminds me of the time the power was out for days and my whole family sat gathered in this one room. On the windows hang white lacy curtains that you would see in an old haunted house, as though fragile cobwebs hang from the windows. The dark brown hutch leaning against the wall holds a variety of candles, making the room smell like a candle factory of vanilla, tropical, and outdoor scents.
I decided to take one last trip upstairs to revisit my bedroom. As I walk up the creaky stairs, I notice the family photos hanging on the wall in simple gold frames. Photos from Christmas, birthdays, gatherings and more, lead me directly to my bedroom. As I open my white-painted door, I am drawn immediately to my old bed, consisting of a green-and-purple Barney comforter and pillows. The room smells a bit like an old, dusty house. The room is startling-bright as the sun shines through the window. “Click….click….click…” is all I hear while I peer from the window. I turn around to notice on the back wall my circular, bright purple clock decorated with flowers.
The clicking is getting louder and louder, but then I notice it is no longer the clock inside my room that I’m hearing: the crickets, here, outside with me, are all chirping in a rhythmic pattern. I sorrowfully start to get up from the swing and walk away from my once beloved house. It’s a bittersweet moment; I’m glad I got to revisit the house that I always remembered so vividly in my dreams.
My small town home may be filled with a historic past, but it will always be remembered as the house that my family spent time together. Whether it was while baking in the kitchen, watching television, spending the holidays together, or sitting on an old rug while the power was out, it was a house with open arms and a welcoming gift to anyone who entered its presence. The house on Old Forge Road is, and always will be, the house with a history, and a history of my family.