Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Family Home (05/29/08)
TITLE: The Heartbeat of a Household
By Connie Dixon
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The house was nothing much, not really. At least it appeared that way. In fact, I was kind of embarrassed to invite my friends over because our modest little dwelling was paled by the ornate appearance of the surrounding 20th century neighborhood. My humiliation ended abruptly however, when one day I realized that it wasn’t the exterior, or the size, or the location, or the price of a house that made it a home, but it was what was inside…..the people, the laughter, the love, the hope………that was what made the difference.
My dad worked the same job day after day for thirty years to pay for that house, delivering mail in the rain, snow, sleet and ice. "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds." Familiar though it was, that was his motto. His job was as stable as the foundation of that old house and when the economy took a nose dive, we knew we would be safe and secure because nothing could stop the US Postal Service.
My Mom literally worked her fingers to the bone to help make ends meet, doing laundry in a wringer washing machine, hanging clothes out to dry on the clothesline, clipping coupons and shopping for bargains, cooking incredible dinners, bagging school lunches, saving a dime here and a quarter there, providing everything we needed, most of the things we wanted, and enough love to cover those things that just weren’t meant to be. On top of that, she cleaned houses for people five days a week, eight hours a day to pay for those “extras” that separate needy kids from impoverished ones.
Our little house on 12th Avenue probably resembled a shack to most of our neighbors, but to me and my family, its inner beauty was shaped by the unified heartbeat of six people who breathed life into an inanimate object as much in the same way that Geppetto gave life to a wooden boy named Pinocchio.
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