chez (shā) prep.
At the home of; at or by.
[French, from Old French, from Latin casa, cottage, hut.]
One night in 1994, I drove a young friend home from the mall where we both worked. I worked at Waves Music and she worked at Lady Foot Locker with the girl I was dating at the time. We drove away from the parking garage and she proceeded to do the navigating for me. We talked music, high school, little life stuff, and it was all interspersed with "make a left here" and "make a right there."
With each passing turn, I smiled to myself as I recalled how I used to live in the same area back in the 70s as a very small child. I remember the little house on Stokesmont in Nashville, Tennessee where my dad and stepmom lived. I would visit on weekends. I could see the memories, pure and clean. Little me jumping into the big piles of leaves in autumn. This little guy sitting in his treehouse, pretending it was a cigar shop. My dad would be the potential customer walking by and I would give him my best sales pitch. Our dog, Poco, who I would be in charge of feeding when I was there.
Lo and behold, as I was driving my friend home and thinking of the things I did in that little house, her directions took me not only to that street, but to that same house. Wow. She invited me in and I entered, gazing about and seeing the interior of one of the first places I had ever lived, a good twenty years later. It was a bit like one of those vaguely recalled dreams where you are in a place you know except that almost everything about it is different from how you know it to really be. The walls were the same, but of course the pictures on them were different. Someone's parent was sitting on the couch with a book, but not either of my parents.
How cool was that? Not knowing she lived there, but inching our way to that same driveway the whole time. Thinking of this tonight, I'll have to ask my oldest son what his early memories of early homes are. What little seemingly unimportant details stay with him. These little marks of life. And I wonder what little things my two very little ones are going to hold onto. Things worth considering as I go about my role as parent.
Here's that house on Stokesmont. It appears that someone along the way has cut down a tree. We used to use that tree for second base for wiffle ball games. Oh well. Home base remains intact. It's just someone else growing up there now.