I know I’m dating myself but I remember that cute little rag doll very clearly. Our entire bedroom was decorated from head-to-toe in Holly Hobbie from sheets, to curtains, to the hand-painted lamp my mom made. A giant Holly Hobbie doll graced each one of our twin beds (that were covered in Holly Hobbie bedspreads.) It was the epitome of a bedroom that housed these 2 little girls.
My parents always took pride in the way our house looked and felt. Saturday mornings were for cleaning, fueled by the fresh Italian bakery bread, a pile of salami, and cinnamon buns that Poppop delivered stealthily at dawn. By 1pm you could smell nothing but lemon Lysol, warm bread, and fresh air. And is anything better than sliding into freshly washed sheets? Daily chores kept the house in shape during the week even when friends, neighbors, and family came in and out unannounced through our unlocked front door.
Sundays were for family dinners, we’d wake to the smell of mom frying meatballs and sausage for Sunday gravy. (Yes, it’s gravy.) If we were lucky, we got to sample a fried meatball before they went into the pot to simmer for the rest of the morning. Mommom and Poppop joined us by noon with a jug of unlabeled homemade red wine. Dina and I got to drink a splash of it mixed with Coke which I hear is a thing now. The feast started early afternoon with all of us crammed around our little dining room table which was always adorned with china and a centerpiece. Coco was of course waiting patiently under the table for his meatball sample.
Dad and Poppop sunk into couches for their naps while mom, Dina, Mommom and I got the dishes and kitchen sparkling again while chatting away. We’d spend the rest of the afternoon around our wood-burning stove in the living room just being together.
That’s what home is for me.
The place where my happiest experiences happened and my worst heartbreaks were healed. Christmases and Easters and Thanksgivings and birthdays with homemade cake and random Tuesday nights. All spent around the table. At home. With food cooking, family together, fresh sheets, burning candles, warm fireplaces, framed photos… and a little lemon Lysol.