It is a camp, home, restaurant, and petting zoo all in one. It is the one place where I know I will always be welcome. I lived there for seven years and I would not change that even if I could. This is where I met my best friends, planned my future, developed my love for dogs and my love for cooking. It may be just a house to passersby, but it is a home to many.
Auntie Trudy, who in actuality is not related to us. She is a teacher at the school we attended in Barbados and according to the culture, we referred to adults as Uncle and Auntie. She soon became a close family friend. Every day after school, my sister and I spent our time at her house, which had statuettes in every possible crevice. We were surrounded by four generations of her family, our family. While waiting for our mother to be released from work, we had an abundance of options for what we could do. My favorite option was sitting in Auntie Trudy’s bedroom, which we had littered with toys and stuffed animals, and watch television. We could also play with the dogs in the backyard, play in the front yard with her children, Johan and Truneal, or even entertain ourselves with the tortoise that she owned. During dinner time my sister and I would sit with the family and eat a meal that was prepared by Gran, Auntie Trudy’s mother.
Although several may think that her house is just a place I used to stay while waiting to return home, they would be wrong. Her house is my home, I remember being at her house for Christmas, birthdays and every possible occasion. During hurricanes, we would board up all the windows and hunker down in her bedroom with Johan and Truneal to watch movies. We would gather as many blankets as possible, make popcorn and just wait out the storm. Sometimes if the hurricane was not supposed to be horrible, we would venture outside and play in the rain. I still visit her house whenever I can, which is not often.
Her house is the place where I had been formally introduced to my best friend’s daughter, Ariah. She is a six-year-old with a slightly crooked smile, tight curls that are always styled and an uncanny likeness to her father. She is the apple of Johan’s eye, which means she is an important person in my life. She is the girl that said I am her sister and clutched onto my arm while begging me not to leave.
Johan is not only my best friend, he is also my family. When I first met him, he was fourteen and I was two. When everyone else would make fun of me for being clumsy, he was the only one that never made fun of me. My clumsiness led to him giving me the nickname Murphy, which is taken from Murphy’s Law where it states, “if anything can go wrong, it will.” We shared thousands of memories in and outside of this house. Although he is only twelve years older than me, he was my father figure while I lived in Barbados due to my father still working in America. Right outside this house is where my best friend, Johan, introduced me to his friends as his daughter.
Truneal is Johan’s sister, Trudy’s daughter, and my sister’s best friend. While I was growing a connection with Johan, she was growing a connection to Truneal. We were always so involved in their lives that when either of them had a love interest, we were one of the first to meet them. Outside the house is where I met Mick, he became a part of my family that day and so did the rest of his family. He also became an even bigger part of Truneal’s family, they are currently married and have a two-year-old daughter, Milan. All of the memories I made with these people, my family, were made in Auntie Trudy’s house.
Her house is one of the places where I know that I will be surrounded by friends and family that love me. Whenever I visit I feel like the innocent and clumsy Murphy, I used to be. Over the summer, her house becomes a camp. The children there run around the front yard playing with all the toys we left behind, playing with the new dogs that I never played with, watching television shows in Truneal’s old room and trying to sneak into the adjacent room belonging to Johan. These children, whose siblings I went to school with, come to the house and do everything I used to when I was younger.
I still notice how my presence at the house has impacted the way that Auntie Trudy runs her house. This is due to the fact that when my sister and I visited her over the summer, everyone at the camp was shocked when we sat in the dining room for lunch. They were not allowed in there and were forced to sit outside at tables that had been set up for them. This is partly my fault considering when I was younger everyone was allowed into the dining room until I broke a glass statuette. Although, I believe that I should not be blamed for this because when someone puts a six-year-old in a room filled with statuettes and trinkets, the breakage of such objects is inevitable.
Nevertheless, no matter what I broke or how many objects I broke, which was a lot, hence the nickname Murphy, I was always and will always be welcomed back with open arms. I lived in this house for seven years and many summers after that. I spent copious amounts of birthdays, Christmases, Easters and hurricanes there. It is my home and contains some of the people I care about the most. If I had never been to this house, my life would not be the same and I would not be the person I am today.