I spent Monday through Wednesday of this week at a United Methodist conference in Dallas, Texas. As a lot of you know, that’s the city of my birth, childhood, and adolescence.
One of the first things I did on this trip — as I do every time on those rare occasions I go to Dallas — was to drive by the house where I grew up. Here it is.
Now: the brick that is today whitewashed was predominantly red when I called it home. In the 38 years since I moved away, the various owners have expanded and upgraded the house, but the basic chemistry of the place remains much the same. And here are some of the memories and emotions that run through my mind as I viewed it in person and now through the photo.
- As a child, I never once worried that I would come home and hear the dreaded news that my parents were divorcing (it does help, of course, that they’d already been married 24 years by the time I was born!). At the time, I took such stability for granted; now I realize what a treasure they gave me.
- If you are facing the house (as from the angle of the photo), the driveway is on the left. At the end of the driveway was a garage. When I was growing up, that garage had a basketball basket on the roof and a tennis-net-height stripe on the door. As a result, I spent hours working on my outside shooting and my forehand crosscourt. With basketball, I’d pretend I hit the buzzer beating shot for SMU to win the Southewest Conference (remember that?). With tennis, I pretended I won Texas Sectionals. Sometimes your pretending turns out to be preparation.
- The block on which our house sat always seemed long and imposing as a kid. In reality, it is short and intimate.
- I noticed this week the yard was nicely edged. It never was when I lived there, as my family didn’t invest in that kind of lawn equipment or lawn care. I always wanted an edged lawn (what does that say about my internal wiring???) and now in Charlotte I have one.
- I am so grateful that the community surrounding this house was by-and-large full of stable families, excellent schools, and an ethic of achievement.
- My room was on the second floor, far left corner as you look at the house from the street. That’s the room where, as a 17 year old after the impassioned witness of my best friend, I got saved. Yep, I was lost and I got found. I was blind and now I see, and by the miracle of prevenient grace, that is the very place where it happened.