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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Family Home (05/29/08)

TITLE: Not Poppy Lane
By Kristen Hester


Dianne peeked through her venetian blinds. When she saw that the driveway was still empty, she walked to the couch and readjusted a throw pillow.

Her husband looked up from the paper he was reading and peered at his wife over his bifocals. “I don’t think that pillow has moved since the last time you straightened it.”

“I know,” she sighed as she sat down beside him. “I’m just so excited for the kids to see the house.” She got up and went to the window for another check. “How does everything look?”

Tom smiled patiently at his wife, satisfied that after forty years of marriage he had been able to provide her with her dream home. “It’s perfect. Just like something out of a magazine.”

Dianne gazed around the room and couldn’t contain the little giggle that slipped out. “Yes it is. We’ve come along way since we lived in that tiny house on Poppy Lane.”

“Well, if size was what you wanted it, you got it.”

“Now the kids will have a great place to bring their families when they visit. This house will entice them to make the long drives.”

Tom opened his mouth to argue with his wife, but before the words were out, car lights flashed through the windows. “They’re here!” Dianne yelled as she threw open the door and ran to greet her oldest daughter, Katie.

Katie’s mouth hung open in amazement as she exited her suburban. “Mom, it’s beautiful. I had no idea you’d built such a grand house.” She turned to her husband as he unbuckled their youngest from her car seat. “Can you believe this house?”

“It’s gorgeous,” Todd answered.

“Can I have the first tour?” Katie took her four-year-old’s hand and excitedly followed her mother into the house, motioning her husband to follow.

Dianne proudly led her impressed daughter throughout the house. Katie especially loved the large grandchild room, furnished with three sets of identical bunk beds and coordinating bedspreads. Each grandchild’s name was painted on the wall.

“I saw the room in a Pottery Barn Kid’s catalog. I bought everything on the two-page spread,” Dianne explained.

Dianne also showed Katie four additional bedrooms, a media room with theater seats and a huge plasma TV, a library with sliding ladder to reach the twenty feet high shelves, and a pool and hot tub with a rock waterfall.

When her two sons arrived with their families, she happily repeated the tour and was pleased they were also impressed.

At dinner that night the family all sat together at the long table in the dining room. The conversation centered around the new house. “This house is awesome,” her oldest son, David, said, “but when I think of home I’ll always think of the house on Poppy Lane.”

Dianne nearly choked on her broccoli. “What? It was so....small.”

“It was cozy.” Katie corrected. “It forced us to be together. Remember how the walls were so thin, we would talk to each other from our rooms like on the Waltons?”

Brad, the youngest, nodded. “I remember how we’d all be brushing our teeth at the same time and invariably someone would get spit on.” The kids laughed.

“And when you flushed the toilet whoever was in the shower got scaled,” David recalled.

“I remember David hung a sheet down the middle of the room we shared to separate our sides. He’d charge me a quarter if I crossed the divider.”

Katie pouted dramatically. “I’d hear you two talking and giggling and I’d be so jealous. Remember how I’d sneak in your room and sleep on the floor between your beds?” The boys nodded affectionately at their sister.

There was a moment of reflective silence. “We made a lot of good memories in that home.” David sighed. “I miss that place.”

“Dianne, you didn’t need a big house to entice the kids to come visit. We could have stayed on Poppy Lane and saved a fortune,” Tom joked.

“Mom, we’d visit you and dad no matter where you lived,” Katie said as she patted her mom on the shoulder. The rest of the family echoed her sentiments.

“Do you wish we still lived on Poppy Lane?” Dianne asked, clearly bewildered.

“We may be sentimental, but we’re not stupid.” David answered. “And as soon as dinner’s over, we’re putting a movie on for the kids and we’re heading to the hot tub.”

“Yea,” Brad winked at his wife. “We’ve got some new memories to make.”

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This article has been read 923 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 06/05/08
Key truth: Make new memories wherever you are. Nicely done.
Cyndi Brandon06/05/08
Great work! This clearly shows that home is where you make it.
Laury Hubrich 06/05/08
Oooh, would love to live in that house! What a neat idea to have a grandkid room:) There was a typo I found, no big deal but you might want to fix it. Should be scalded, I think. Really liked this story:)
“We may be sentimental, but we’re not stupid.” I love that line. It was a perfect conclusion to the story.
Chely Roach06/07/08
I loved this...I adored the husband's wisdom to bite his tongue, and the reference to the Walton's made me laugh out loud. Great story telling!
Joanne Sher 06/07/08
Definitely saw where this was going, but I LOVED the ride anyway. Great ending too - love it!
Beth LaBuff 06/07/08
I totally enjoyed the house tour. This sounds like what we did... a big house so all the family can come and visit... but it's not where the kids grew up. :) Great story and creativity.
Jan Ackerson 06/08/08
Oh, I love the idea of a "grandchild room"! I need one of those (but I need a grandchild, first).

You did a great job on this tender story.
Karen Wilber06/08/08
"We may be sentimental, but we’re not stupid." LOL That gave it a little spark.
Debbie Roome 06/08/08
My kids would love this house!! Good message.
Debbie Wistrom06/08/08
Liked this take on the topic and the old adage is apparent here, home IS where you are...
LauraLee Shaw06/09/08
LOVE the personalities in this piece, which you brought out so well. Great job!
Verna Cole Mitchell 06/09/08
I loved the remembrances of the home they grew up in. I really identified with this story as I remembered our children coming home with their families to our new big house with room for all. Our son drove his family by the house where he'd grown up on "Brookdale Avenue." He told them and us, "I'd remembered the yard as much bigger." You wove a wonderful story around memories.
Sara Harricharan 06/11/08
Ahhh, just the right feel to this place! I loved the old memories of Poppy lane, so funny! The dialog flowed so easily here, it made me feel as if I were standing just outside the room and listening in. Great job! ^_^
Joshua Janoski06/11/08
I'm so glad that the kids didn't say they they wished they were still on Poppy Lane. It was nice being able to look back and enjoy the memories there, but that new house sounded totally sweet! :)

Thank you for sharing. I enjoyed this.
Loren T. Lowery06/11/08
I could just picture all of this going on and hear it too. Maybe because I've had similar talks with my family.
Well-done and rings all so true. Loren
Aaron Morrow06/11/08
Well done Kristen with excellent details throughout, Thanks for sharing it!
LauraLee Shaw06/12/08
Congratulations, Kristen!!!! So happy for you to get 5th place overall! It is SO deserved!!!! Happy dancin'. ;)
Glynis Becker06/12/08
Really great piece, Kristen! Congratulations!
Sara Harricharan 06/12/08
Congrats! I'm so glad this one made it! ^_^
Joshua Janoski06/12/08
Haha. Taking care of the kids and snagging an EC at the same time. Just another day in the life of Mrs. Kristen Hester. LOL. Congratulations!
Sheri Gordon06/12/08
Congratulations on your EC, Kristen. Excellent dialogue, and wonderful story.
Helen Dowd06/12/08
Great story. Congratulations on your win. I could relate to the crowded, humble home where we would all be happily together, joking and jostling, but happy to be back home after being away at school for six months...Those happy reunions will always be special...(School was a Christian high school our parents sacrificed to send us to.) ... Home is where the heart is.
Beth LaBuff 06/12/08
Kristen -- Congrats on your HC and EC with this!
Betsy Markman06/12/08
Very good...sentimental without being maudlin. Well done.
Dee Yoder 06/12/08
Congratulations, Kristen!! This is a lovely story, full of wonderful descriptions and characters.
Catrina Bradley 06/12/08
Congrats, Kristen! Love your story. :)
Dara Sorensen06/12/08
Great story! I don't think I'd ever like a house much bigger than Poppy Lane ^_^
Peter Stone06/15/08
Excellent, so much happening here. I thought the grandmother was missing the point in thinking her kids would come because of the house. And you showed that they did not. But also cute that at the end the kids show they will enjoy the new house anyway.
Lisa Holloway06/16/08
Good story! I haven't checked in in a while, but every time I do, you're winning something. ;)