This I Believe

Lauren - Hollywood, Florida
Entered on February 13, 2007

Elizabeth Will be There

I’m the eighth out of nine children, and yes, we all have the same parents. So you may think nine kids, two parents, where did you all sleep? Unfortunately, we no longer live in the house where we grew up. My mom was aching to move to the suburbs and out of the city, and we finally did when I was seventeen. However the house we sold was a good size, considering eleven of us lived there. It had four floors, a basement, two middle floors containing: a parlor (used on holidays), dining room, “library” (a room to do homework which held the family computer), kitchen, dad’s small office, den (my parents TV room), family room, parents’ bedroom, and two bathrooms (one strictly for my parents and the other was for us kids). And finally, we have the fourth floor, our sanctuary, the bedrooms.

The fourth floor had four bedrooms in the shape of a trapezoid. There were two kids per bedroom, and then Dylan, the ninth, was born, but by then Nicole, the oldest moved out. My parents rarely ventured up there; frankly, my mom was petrified of the mess she’d see. We were able to have our own space, we were free up there. Once, when I was about fifteen, I was arguing with my mother. I was so upset that during the argument I said, “whatever I don’t care,” and then I turned and walked to my room. She didn’t and wouldn’t follow me. I was able to run to the sanctuary and not have to address the issue at that time.

My mother hated messiness but loved her organized clutter of random paper pads. During one of our spring cleanings, which by the way was in November before Christmas, my mother decided to take time and name the house as she did her kids. When the house was clean it was Elizabeth and when it was dirty my mom called it Lizzy. The house was pretty much Lizzy all year round, with the exception of the holidays. Lizzy never minded the messiness in the house; as long as we were living there she was happy. To keep Elizabeth clean we all had chores that had to be done right after super.

Our house was always full, not simply with people, but with life. The tears, anger, hope, and laughs filled Elizabeth and seeped into her walls. My family has always been close; Elizabeth was apart of this; she was there for the all the emotion. The joy every time a new baby was brought home, the sadness when my brother was diagnosed with cancer, and many more memories. Even though I am happy that she was there for all of this, I feel bad for Lizzy, considering some of the torture she felt growing up. Typical boys, my brothers loved getting into fist fights with one another. Many bodies were rammed into the wall during these fights leaving Lizzy with bruises. Bruises wasn’t her only damage. My brother, David, was so upset once he decided to take a solid punch to the family room wall, putting a rather large open wound in Lizzy’s side. David realized his mistake and not wanting to be caught, covered the hole with a picture. Lizzy wasn’t bandaged up until years later.

I always tried to be extra nice to Lizzy. I loved her. She was a great source of comfort, whenever I was afraid to face the world I could stay inside and she would protect me. I remember one morning I was so embarrassed to go to school. I brought Tuna for lunch the day before and being that young girls are brutal, I was laughed at. Apparently tuna is gross and only weirdo’s eat it. So, I guess I was, am and always will be a weirdo. The next day I couldn’t dare go to school. So I stayed home and Lizzy protected me with her big concrete four walls. She helped me then and it is sad to know she can never do that again for me or my family. Ever time I’m in South Boston I take a trip down my old street just to see her. Every time I go she seems to look appallingly sad. There are no kids running around inside her laughing, crying, and arguing. In fact, there seems to be no life in her at all. She was made to create comfort, a home, and know she stands alone, no longer a home but a house. She would be happy though, if she could only see and hear how well and still very close we all are. I believe that bricks and wood make a house, and love and care make a home.