Miranda Lambert song, “The House That Built Me” is a sweet nostalgic song that looks at growing up in a particular home that she felt her time as a child was rewarded. For me, I had a crazy childhood and lived in an amazing childhood home. The picture of the house with a fantastic porch is in the above picture along with my life’ verse. This summer I returned to Dodge City with my dad and cousins and not only saw my childhood home but reunited with four amazing friends. Trudy Barnes, Sandy Madden, Carol Reynolds and Cathy. My heart was full at this sweet reunion as we had not seen each other since ninth grade, 1966.
Have you ever sat on the porch in the pouring rain? With thunder clapping and lightening causing a spectacular light show, the nights I spent on this porch are etched in my mind. The house is in Dodge City, Kansas on Fifth Avenue. I really wanted to knock on the door and ask to tour the house but I resisted because I really didn’t want to change my memory of my childhood home.
The house was a cigar factory at the turn of the century. You see this house has a full basement with two entrances, one from the inside of the house and one from the outside of the house. My parents bought the house in the early 1960’s. The top floor had a fire so my dad was able to buy the house and rebuild the upstairs himself. The upstairs had an attic that one could enter through the closet bedrooms and my bedroom had a built-in window seat. The window to the room is in the picture.
When we moved to the house, the basement had trunks left with cigar boxes and clothes. Old secretary desks the kind that the table folded down, to make the writing surface. We gave much of the contents to the museum at Boot Hill. The main entrance had a wonderful porch, a living room, front guest bedroom, laundry room, dining room, kitchen, two bathrooms and a master bedroom. Upstairs had two bedrooms, and the basement had a complete living room with a kitchen, bathroom, spare room that was the entry room for the stairs from the house and outside. My room was upstairs and I had a record player and a radio to play oldies from Oklahoma City on K. O. M. A. would come in at night. My brother had the other upstairs bedroom. He was four years older and I idolized him as any younger sister would. He was handsome and looked like Fabian.
However of the memories, my favorite memories are the ones that occurred on our front porch. We had a front porch swing and I spent hours swinging and playing. My mom loved with an everlasting love. She loved to laugh, she loved the color red. She made an amazing sweet tea and her cooking was wonderful. She welcomed my friends with an open heart. Her legacy to me was she taught me to love God. So much laughter on this porch. I learned to pray and read God’s word from my beautiful mom. Below is my mom and dad in the living room.
My last memory of our house was my fourteen birthday. My mom organized and gave me a surprise birthday party with the help of my friends. She stocked the kitchen in the basement and yes she supervised from afar. The girls and I dragged our mattress up the stairs and out on the front porch where we went to gaze at the night sky. My brother came home and we giggled as we spied on him from that front porch. Secrets shared and I can[t tell you what was shared because they were secrets of friends forever. Little did I know that in August this same year, I would move to California and leave my front porch with memories seared into my heart forever.
I just savor the feeling as I reflect now tears come to my eyes of the beautiful gift I was given a spiritual legacy that began on a swing on a front porch.