Every child goes through it. That age when they get their first bicycle, and they learn to ride. Most times they get that first bicycle for Christmas, or for their birthday, which can be bad if that birthday happens to be in Winter, because there are few places to ride it in the Winter, unless you live where it is warm year round…not the case for my family. Those birthdays weren’t a problem for my sister-in-law, Marlyce, who was born July 9th, or my daughters, whose birthdays are in June. Their birthdays were the perfect time to give them that long awaited bicycle. When they were little, having a tricycle was the greatest thing, but as they began to notice that there were kids out there who could ride the big kids bicycle with two wheels, that tricycle started to really look like a baby bike to them. When that happens, you know it’s time to get that first bicycle.
By the time they get their first bicycle with training wheels, they pretty much know how to use the peddles, having spent several years on a tricycle already. So there isn’t much work involved in training them to ride this new semi-big kid bicycle. The main things are how to go over the bumps without tipping over, and how to take the downhill runs without having a wreck. Most kids learn that part pretty quickly and for my girls and Marlyce, there weren’t a lot of hills to ride on…up or down, so that was pretty easy. We lived out in the country then, as did my in-laws, when Marlyce and the kids were little, so there wasn’t much traffic to deal with either, but the city kids had to learn about the street and the dangers therein. I think that was a bit of a relief to ma, because I really didn’t want to deal with them being in the street much at that age.
Kids do pretty good on their bicycles with training wheels, but it isn’t too long before they decide that they are big enough to ride without training wheels. For me, that was kind of sad, because it meant they were growing up, and I really didn’t want them to. Little did I know then that the rest of their lives would rush by as fast as those first few years and before I knew it they would be all grown up, and have families of their own. Nevertheless, time waits for no man, and the girls got to that age where they had to have those training wheels off. They learned to ride on two wheels with minimal trouble, and they were soon riding their bicycle to the neighbors house, and the to kids house down the street. It was just the beginning of their being able to get themselves where they wanted to go, and the beginning of my days of wondering exactly where they were at any given moment. Thankfully they were pretty good about checking in and getting home by the times I said, otherwise I might have hated that age more that I did the simply fact that they were growing up.
Can a house feel lonely? Well, maybe not the house itself exactly, but it really can take on that feel after the loss of a loved one, and the moving of the other to a nursing home. We have been preparing my in-laws’ house for the sale to my nephew, JD, and the more things that get removed from the house; the more lonely it feels there. When I think back to all the wonderful times we have had in the 24 years that my in-laws lived there, it feels like the house took on their personalities to a large degree. That is the way it goes, when you own a home. You pour your own style into it, and it becomes almost an extension of you.
All the good times and the sad times that went on during the years they lived in the house, keep coming to the top of my memory files. I remember the sadness we felt when Marlyce passed away, and the excitement as each new baby came into the family. Gone are the times when the kids would come by before a dance or to trick or treat on Halloween. Gone is the noise that was always in the house…the television that was always on and turned up loud so my father-in-law could hear it, the laughter and chatter from all the visitors they always seemed to have, and even the rumbling of the oxygen concentrator that was a mainstay in the home for many years. Gone are the birthday parties, holidays, and family get togethers. All are gone from the home now, and it is quiet…too quiet really. That is an amazing thought, since they lived on one of the busiest streets in Casper.
It’s funny, how much my mother-in-law hated the noise of the street, and yet loved the flurry of activity that always accompanied that traffic noise. Everyone stopped what they were doing when an emergency vehicle went by, and grumbled at the loud motorcycles and vehicles when they roared by. Toward the end of their time there, it was all that traffic that gave them something to look at and wonder about. Their chairs were set up so they could look out the big front window and see the hubbub of activity going on, because whether they ever admitted it or not, they liked all of it…except maybe the noise in the summer when the doors and windows were open.
I’m glad my nephew is going to buy the home, so it stays in the family, and I’m glad for the home that it will once again have someone living in it…someone who will remember the good times that we all had there for so many years. Oh I know that JD will change the house, add things, and make it his own…that is inevitable, but to us and him, it will simply always be remembered as his grandma and grandpa’s house…at least somewhere in his memory files…and that makes it all feel better somehow. A house needs to be lived in. That is its whole purpose for existence, and when it isn’t lived in, it is simply a house…so lonely.