As a child, I move homes quite regularly due to the constant changes in my father's job. Thus, my childhood was like an endless roller coaster with unexpected and sometimes frightening curves and turns.
Just when I am feeling the exhilaration of having found a home and of reaching the peak, my roller coaster takes a devastating plunge down the steep slope and I am left to start rolling along to a new part of the ride, symbolizing a new part of my life. Fortunately, at the age of nine, I moved into my Godmother's massive, white house filled with so many windows that it sometimes seems like the house was made out of clear sparkling glass.Being a petite little girl, I remember feeling like a princess entering her beautiful castle for the very first time. Now as a young successful college student residing in the hectic and busy city of Los Angeles, I feel an unexplainable urge to visit the one place that I was able to call home: my old neighborhood in the small and peaceful city of Garden Grove. Even though ten years have gone by, I still feel all the sensations that came to me when I was first introduced to this house.
A wide smile is coming across my face as I slowly approach the gigantic brown door with sections of glass paintings like those you see in the famous Notre Dame Cathedral. It still smells of newly sawed wood and the gloss that is painted over it shimmers in the sunlight, giving me a sense of welcoming and love. A tingling feeling comes over me and I giggle like a young schoolgirl who just saw her crush over in the distance. I find it so difficult to believe yet so comforting to see all the physical features of the house the same way that I have left it.My perspective of course has change in some degree because now I see this place not as a present home, but as a piece of my childhood that I hold so dear to my heart.
This gigantic mansion is guarded by a tall, cream-painted metal gate, covered with fancy designs similar to the curves and twists of a curly fry. Being within that wall, I feel like I am in the arms of a guardian angel and that no harm can come my way. The front yard is fill with exotic flowers of all shapes, sizes, colors, and scent. One sniff and you're intoxicated with the bliss of being in heaven, never wanting to return to reality.There is a patio table and chairs on the front porch where I sit to just watch the sky and the plants in front of me.
I remember specific times when I remain in that position so long that my thigh had the imprints of the rubber horizontal straps on the patio chair, of which then I would sit and rub until it fades away. Inside, I am greeted by the gentle and soft hug of my Godmother. Even though the house appears unchanged, she however, has aged into someone that I barely recognize. Dark lines of wrinkles on the side of her eyes are visibly clear.The roots of her hair are now white and she seems exhausted.
She walks over to the kitchen counter and starts washing the vegetables to prepare for a delicious meal. I quickly walk over and offer to lend a hand, but is rejected and told to go take a walk and enjoy myself before dinner is ready. So like a humble servant, I obey, turn my body, and head straight for the door. The monstrous heavy wooden door slowly opens with a disturbing creeeakkk and I frown my face from the displeasure of the sound.
Stepping outside, I am overwhelmed by a sudden gust of cold air that brings strange chills down, my spine.I shiver uncontrollably and search quickly for something to help me forget this feeling of being in Antarctica. As I walk, I tilt my head slightly upward and found the warmth that I was looking for. The sun like a huge, majestic, golden sphere is slowly descending from the pale blue sky.
I smile at the pleasurable warmth that I feel when I see its glowing yet dimming light. It warms me both inside and out like a steady flame in a fireplace. The sky flares and burns with a mixture of pink, red, orange and yellow. It almost looks like a giant imaginary artist took a paintbrush and spread all these colors across the massive surface of the sky.Stunned by the beauty, I stand and admire the sight like a child watching a circus act fill with dancing monkeys, talented jugglers, tight rope walkers, acrobats soaring across the air, and lions being released from their cages.
I turn my body to continue walking straight ahead and with each step, I hear the crushing and crunching of leaves beneath the sole of my shoe. My serene feeling of peace suddenly deteriorates as I approach the end of the street where Laramore Lane meets Gilbert Avenue. This corner sits the one house in the entire neighborhood that I have always found strange and spooky.This particular old, dark, and mysterious house gives me the creeps every time I look at it; even now I am strangely bothered by the sight.
There was a huge pine tree on the front lawn, which covers the house so well that it is almost impossible to see anything pass the tall tree. The only view that you can make of it is the chipping of paint on the dirty brown walls that was probably once white. The wooden steps on the porch that leads to the front door are broken and slowly being eaten away by hungry termites. Perhaps it is only my imagination, but this house releases a smell that is almost unbearable.I quickly pinch my nose in responds to the horrid smell of dirty diapers and rotten eggs.
I feel like I am standing in front of a ten year old dumpster that has never been dispose of or emptied out. I can just picture the swarms of flies and insects that this house must attract. Of all the years that I lived in this neighborhood, never once did I see a resident walk out of this house, nor an automobile in the driveway. The door has never left its place to let a single gust of wind or a streak of light pass through. Thus I begin to call this destination, "the haunted house".The unsolved mystery of this bizarre and deserted house gives me an eerie feeling that lingers in my body.
Walking away, I still feel uneasy and disturbed. The unreasonable child inside of me is convincing me that I am being followed by a ghost. I shiver and quickly shake my head to try to get rid of all the crazy thoughts. To my surprise, I am unexpectedly amused by an odd clicking noise. Without a sign of warning, the air is unexpectedly covered with a thin mist of cool liquid.
Listening intently, I hear the rapid, furious tapping of great shots of water. "Tsh tsh tsh tsh," it went.I step closer and I can vaguely feel the light breeze of the water mist blowing upon my face. I am overcome with the urge to twirl and pretend that I am dancing in the rain. I ignore all thoughts of bypassers thinking that I am insane because I am too content to care. Standing on the cold wet pavement of the neighborhood that I grew up in, nothing seems more important than the happiness that I feel as I relive the silly activities I did as a child.
My joy is soon defeated by my dizziness and the sudden buzzing of electricity in the street lights as they each, one after another flicker rapidly and turns on.Directly across the street through a wide window with thin sheer curtains, a family is setting the dinner table and preparing for their evening meal. I tried without any success to smell the delicious aroma of the food. I imagine the scent of roasted chickens, warm fluffy mashed potatoes, fresh vegetables, and mouth-watering biscuits. However the only scent that reached my nose was that of a newly watered lawn, gasoline on the asphalt nearby, and even a faint sniff of the garbage can sitting on the side of the street. My craving for a satisfying home-cook meal grows so intense; I begin to think that I am going to die of starvation.
I decide that this was the perfect time for this princess to return to her castle. As I enter the front door, I turn my head to take one last look around. A car steadily passes by, a black cat with glowing, glaring eyes jumps off the fence on my left; a few elderly ladies are taking their daily post-dinner walk, talking in soft voices and occasionally bursting out in small laughter. I make my way back into my warm safe home thinking of what an absolutely unique neighborhood this is. Every house seems to have its story and every corner a surprise.Revisiting this area is special to me because I feel like I am watching a film of me as a child.
Looking at various spots on the sidewalk, I can see myself as a little girl, painfully falling off my bike and limping back home to cry to my mother. I can feel the sting as she washes the wound with soap and water. I can hear myself crying and telling her how much it hurts. I can taste the sweet juices of the fruit candy that she always gives me while she gently places a band-aide on my scrap and I can smell the pleasing scent of my mother's perfume as she bends over to kiss my forehead, telling me that everything is ok now.
My perspective has absolutely changed. I feel more appreciation and love for this area because it has been a like a scenery to the story of my life. When I was small, I was just living my life in this area, never thinking any more of it then just a place of residence. Being older now, I realize how lucky I am to have lived in such a diverse and remarkable place.
To many people who have not experience living here, this neighborhood probably looks like any other typical place.However, to me it is a treasure chest that holds the most precious jewels in the world, my childhood memories. Everyone matures and strives to be successful, all to have a rewarding and comforting life. This is what I desired, but the significance of visiting my neighborhood is that it holds emotions and feelings that I can never achieve from material objects and success.
It is a complicated mixture of emotions like a complex chemical equation. It is a place that gives me such an amazing feeling of happiness, a place worthy of the title "Home sweet home. "