Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: The Family Home (05/29/08)
TITLE: Not Poppy Lane
By Kristen Hester
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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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