I really wasn't sure what to expect when I received the phone call from my mom, telling me that Grandma's house had burned she said. I was thinking that perhaps a small grease fire had occured, or maybe even just a small fire had charred a small portion of the kitchen. Yet as I drove over to their house on Edgeware Road, the huge plumes of white smoke caused my pulse to race, as my second home, a place I grew up in, burned and forever would never be the same.
For 38 years this house, the place that my family has called "home" was the center of their universe. A place to return to, a place to celebrate, a place to call their own after having left their native Philippines. Their own piece of the American Dream. Yet in a matter of minutes, 38 years turn to ash and rubble, soot and smoke, memory and heartache. This house, which in sports terms could be labled as the 6th man, etc. was a family member, a "silent" partner in the history of our family, only complaining when a new coat of paint was needed, or perhaps creek when settling, etc. Yet for each day "it" was around, it provided a haven for my family, a museum for all the things they cherished in their lives, a temple per say for everything my family held dear and close.
I spent the bulk of today sifting through piles of burnt wood, ash, clothing, furniture, etc. I saw things I had not seen since I was a child. I remembered things that I thought were long forgot. Yet with each search for things that could still be saved, I was on a forced archeological quest, one that led me back to where not only I started, but my family as well. I came accross photographs, old toys, knick-knacks, etc. stuff I thought were long gone. Yet in this temple, Grandma and Grandpa felt that even the smallest toy that their grandchildren owned , were worth saving, and keeping, for value far beyond that of sentimentality. In the ashes and smoke, I realized thier ongoing love and adoration for not only us, but for the history that families build throughout their lives.
Soon this house that housed so many memories will be gone, but the ghosts of wonderful times when those who are no longer here will live on in our memories, hearts and pictures. Through the small bits and pieces that we were able to save, through the people have ever called this place "home".
I'm not really sure how to feel yet. It's only been a day.
Take care of your family. All of them.
Friday, July 6, 2007
Posted by Michael C. Palma at 9:48 PM