As the 6th anniversary of Sara’s death approaches, the poignancy of watching the place of her first memories disappear is often overwhelming. It’s taken more than 8 months, starting with the careful disconnection of light fixtures back on a bitter January morning, continuing through a spring that brought almost unbearable sadness for our family and on into the never-ending weeks of summer, with its relentless sunshine and only a vague recollection of rain showers. We’re down to just days now, as floorboards come up and foundation dirt blows about in the hot wind for the first time in almost a century. I would love to find a bit of Sara or her sisters in that dirt, maybe a long-lost doll or a tiny playhouse dresser or even an old leather shoe. Chances are slim, I realize, but that would be such a final gift from a house that’s given so much.
This week, our friend, Miles, who has treated this old house like he would his own, will start pulling down the front porch bricks. At some point, he’ll carry away the very ones underneath Mamie, Tiny and Sara in this Christmas, 1923 photo. Three little girls, under the watchful eyes of their great-grandmother, mother and grandmother, happy years ahead for all of them, with another five or so to be spent in this very bungalow. They’re all gone now, all missed, none more so than Sara, who lived an eventful, memorable life that no one could have ever imagined on that December day.
I think these six ladies would like what’s going to soon be rising in the woods of Holmes County. Bigma and Bama, because it will be close to their own homestead at Durant; Jessie, because the “new” house will echo the lines of the Greenwood bungalow; Mamie, because the whole project is just nutty and outrageous and the kind of thing that would make her laugh; Tiny, because she loved nature and the countryside and the way houses could fit into a special space; and Sara, because the stories she told us of life on Strong Avenue will now be passed down to generations to come.
Almost gone……almost ready to be reborn.