Saturday, July 11, 2009


Recently I happened to be driving near my old neighborhood and decided to drive by the house that I grew up in. There were workers outside who were fixing the mailbox. They were doing brick and cement work to enclose it.

When I lived in that house (my whole life until I went to college) the mailbox was connected to a large planter that was made out of brick that matched the house. Every year I planted flowers in it with my mom. I used to play there with my friends. We would try to jump off of it with our roller skates on. Every now and then some ants would start to build ant hills there and I would have a lot of fun pouring water over them and flooding them out.

But the best memory I have of that mailbox happened when I was in high school. Bob, my step-dad, had been doing yard work one night. He was pulling out some bushes that lined the driveway but had become overgrown. Bob tied a rope around the roots of the bushes, tied the other end to the back of his truck, and then would floor it to rip the bushes out. In order to do this, he had to move our blue Subaru station wagon back several feet to make room for the truck. (My first car, aka: the gutless blue-wonder- I still miss that car!)

Well, Bob never pulled the Subaru back to it’s usual position when he was done that night. The next morning my mom and I were running a little late to get me to school. This was before I could drive, so I must have been in 10th grade. We ran into the car, my mom gunned it, and crashed straight into the mailbox, hitting the mailbox's planter.

Then, one of the funniest moments of my life occurred: My mom said, “SHIT!” I guess this is only funny if you know my mom. She has been a dedicated church employee for almost 20 years. She is the relief society president in her ward. She probably has never seen an R rated movie. She was raised in a very proper home where good etiquette was strictly enforced. She is one of the most faithful, well-mannered, and even-tempered people I know. Now, that’s not to say that relief society presidents and church employees don’t swear, it’s just that this is so NOT my mom!

Bob ran outside to see what all the commotion was about. He asked, “What happened?” My mom got out of the car, tearfully ran to hug Bob, and sobbed, “I said a BAD WORD!”

Never mind any damage that the car or the mailbox may have incurred, the real tragedy in this scenario was that a cussword escaped.

From then on, every time I saw the spot where a couple of bricks were broken off the mailbox, I had a good laugh. It reminded me of my mom and Bob, and of the good times that we had.

Bob died two years ago. About 6 months before his death, he and my mom sold that house. Because the house was sold and Bob died so closely together, I tend to lump those two events together in my mind. Not only is Bob gone, but the house that we shared together, the house that we fought in, the house that we learned to love each other in, the house that Bob caught me sluffing school with a boy in (whoops!), the house where all of my memories of the life that we had together is gone.

So when I saw them covering up the mailbox, I got a little teary-eyed. It was hard to see. But I guess that’s life.

Sometimes I think maybe we should tell the new homeowners about our dog that we buried just next to the swing set…

No, if they are going to go around messing up all of my memories, they deserve to come across a dog skeleton or two.


Amy said...

What a great story! I can just imagine what your mom is like - probably a lot like my mom, who cried when she said "shut up". :) I love this story.

Lee and Melody said...

That is TOO funny, and every time I saw that broken corner of bricks I laughed too! It's strange how our lives seem to happen in chapters, isn't it?

I lack that all-important skill of language control when I'm upset. If I ever burst into tears about something I said, it'll be from these words: "I won the lottery." And THEN I'll commence cussing! :)

Chris and Michelle said...

What a sweet story, Marianne. It's amazing how the little things in life (like mailboxes) can stir up such emotions and memories from the past. Bob was such a wonderful guy with a huge heart. I don't know that I ever saw him without a huge grin on his face and a kind word to pass on. You must miss him so much. It really stinks to lose our loved ones too early!
And your sweet Mom...what a cute story! Bless her! That made me laugh.:)

Chris and Tara said...

I love memories. That story made me laugh and so did Melody's comment. Ü

Collin and Rachel said...

Your friend Melody's comment is so true, life is made up of chapters. I don't think in terms of years, I think in times of "well, it was around the same time grandma backed her car into mom's car and it rolled into the field across the street but it was before Jake electrocuted himself by chewing io the vaccuum cleaner cord while it was still plugged in... when was that?

Ryan & Keri said...

Marianne, I'm not sure that you even remember me. We were in the same dorms in college for our freshmen year. Anyway, I found you through Ashley. You have super cute kids and what a sweet story. Thanks for sharing! Hope things are going well for you.

Emily said...

That was a great memory, thank you for sharing it!

I feel the same way every time I go to my parents house, my best friend who lived next door my whole life, has moved out (obviously) but her parents moved too, and we have lost touch. It is very sad for me to see other people in that house, I practically grew up in that house. While I really miss my friend, I project that into annoyance that someone else has trespassed on my memory.

Keenanonie said...

I'm so glad I knew Bob.

And I miss the gutless blue wonder, too. "C'mon chipmunks, you can do it!"