The Drawer in the Hall

One link led to another and I found myself on a real estate website with a search box. On a whim, I entered the address of the house where I grew up. We lived on Marlow Street from the time of my earliest childhood memories until the summer before I started 4th grade.

It was a red brick house just like all the others on the street, except for the ivy that covered the front. The ivy is long gone. I remember driving by to visit the house periodically over the years, hardly recognizing the house without it.

Apparently our old house has changed hands several times. The most recent broker posted photographs of the house inside and out on the real estate site I had just accidentally discovered! Looking at the photographs, after not having seen the inside of the house for well over 50 years, was surreal. Even without furniture and with updated fixtures, I could easily identity the rooms. So many memories flooded back.

This was the house of my perpetually scabbed knees, Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little, the swing set in the back yard that lifted out of the ground if you swung too high, Bazooka bubble gum, climbing into bed with my parents after a bad dream, birthday parties in the basement with crepe paper twisted and stapled to the rafters, and baths with bubbles (and the occasional overly-curious cat).

“See the kitchen?” I spoke through the computer monitor to nobody in particular, “There used to be an island there—until my dad almost burned the house down making French fries.”

“And that picture window over there? That’s where the bench was.” The same bench is in my house now, a quilt covering the worn upholstery my mother re-did many times herself over the years.

There wasn’t a lot of storage in the house, which is probably why the realtor included a photo of the linen cupboard and the three drawers below it in the hallway off the kitchen. I doubt it helped sell the house in any way, but I am so grateful it was included in the online listing. What a gift!

My mother took in mending when we lived here. I can’t remember where the sewing machine was, probably in the bedroom. She hemmed skirts and trousers and replaced zippers for people in the neighborhood. She also made all my clothes. Her fabric scraps and mending were kept in the drawers below the cupboard where she put sheets and towels.

I remember, as if it were yesterday, asking her if I could cut up some fabric and make something. I must have been about five or six years old. She handed me the scissors and while she was doing something in the kitchen, I wrestled open the middle drawer. The memory is so strong I can almost see myself in this picture. I remember the drawer was jam packed with fabric. I rooted around for something I could pry loose. I found something that was pink and pretty and, without removing the entire piece of fabric from the drawer, I yanked out what I could and carefully cut some of it off. I pushed the drawer closed and remember being very proud that nothing was sticking out. I returned the scissors to Mom.

Several days passed. I have no idea what I made with the fabric, but I do remember helping Mom by getting out my new party dress so she could hem it. The pink one. The one with the new 6″ hole in the skirt.

I remember being truly surprised that my beautiful, and now ruined party dress, could have looked so much like a fabric scrap to me. It was as if it had somehow changed its molecular structure. I felt terrible when I realized what I had done, but I don’t recall Mom even being angry. She hugged me tight as I sobbed. Everything was going to be all right.

This Thanksgiving, as we remind ourselves of our blessings, let me put love at the top of my list.

I am grateful also to the unknown realtor for a most thorough online listing of the house on Marlow Street that brought me a photograph to accompany one of my most vivid memories of childhood. And thanks to the Universe for having me click on whatever link that was that got me to it.

Wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving,

Ami Simms

Visit me on Etsy!

64 thoughts on “The Drawer in the Hall

  1. What a beautiful story Ami. Thanks for sharing it with us. Old memories are the best memories. Wishing you a blessed Thanksgiving!


  2. My childhood home in NJ was up for sale a year or so ago. The yard was very changed – all the flowers my parents planted were gone, and my mother’s peace rose was also missing. The pictures of the inside brought back lots of memories for me as well. If I’d had the money to buy it, I would have done so in a heartbeat. I still dream about that house. 15 years – age 5 to 20. Good times.


  3. How wonderful that random photos unlocked such precious memories of you and your mother. It makes me start to remember early sewing experiences with my mother. Thanks! And Happy Thanksgiving.


  4. Ami, your story reminded me of something similar that happened to me. My youngest daughter, Liz, wanted to make a quilt when she saw me working on one. She must have been about 8 or 9 at the time. I remembered telling her that she could choose some fabrics out of a drawer of scraps that I had. Unknown to me, a doll dress from my first “walking” doll was in there, too; the doll was long gone by this time, but I still had her pretty pink striped and floral dress. You can guess what happened. I found a patch of it in Liz’s hand-pieced quilt. I cried when I realized what happened, but she was so proud of her quilt I couldn’t get angry.


  5. That made me start thinking about my house where I grew up, maybe I will have to do some searching too. Memories are so important.


  6. Very sweet- thanks for sharing Ami! I too grew up with a linen closet and three big drawers underneath. When my parents had both passed and I had to clean out their house for sale, I pulled up a chair and spent a lot of time going through the linen closet and drawers. It brought back such great, happy memories from when I was young and living in our family home. Fortunately we sold the home to people we knew so if I really feel the need, I could go back and visit again. :)


  7. Thank you Ami for many years of your happy writing. I still have some fabric your Mom designed. Still quilting, still inspired by you. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


    1. Thank you so much! Hugs to you and yours. Scooter was especially happy to be remembered and sends virtual face-licks to you.


  8. What a beautiful memory. Your creative ideas were not squashed by the experience! A parent’s reaction is so important! The current owner of my Mom’s childhood home contacted her with photos. So many memories came up seeing her home from the 30’s. (She is 95). Thank you for sharing your story.


    1. On the contrary, my creativity (despite the false start) was always nurtured by both of my parents. I was incredibly blessed with their support. How wonderful that your mom got to connect with the new owner of her home!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Memories mean so much. I’ve been fortunate enough to have recently been able to visit the home that my grandparents built in 1905. The current owners have lovingly restored it to its original Craftsman style. I too have fabrics that your mom designed. Happy Thanksgiving!


    1. Jean, so happy you were able to visit your grandparents home. How special is THAT?! And thanks for remember my mom in fabric. You’re very kind.


  10. I am so thankful for your post today. I have loved reading your posts and humor so much over years. You are as wonderful a writer as you are a quilter!


  11. I looked up the house I grew up in. There were many pictures if empty rooms, new paint, very pretty. Boy, was that a tiny bathroom!

    Sent from my iPhone



    1. That’s awesome that you found it. Good for you! Yep, everything looked small to me too. Of course at the time I lived there I was small and everything was large!


  12. What a lovely picture you painted. One I can relate to as our home had a closet with drawers just like the one in the picture. Similar swing set situation too! I am going to Zillow to look up my childhood home. Thank you for sharing.


  13. Thank you for sharing this story, Ami. It touched my heart.

    Thanks, Donna Schmidt

    On Wed, Nov 25, 2020, 8:04 PM Through The Eyes Of A Quilter wrote:

    > Ami Simms posted: ” One link led to another and I found myself on a real > estate website with a search box. On a whim, I entered the address of the > house where I grew up. We lived on Marlow Street from the time of my > earliest childhood memories until the summer before I star” >


  14. Thank you, Ami for your beautiful story. I think many of us have vivid memories of a simpler … perhaps happier … time in our life when we really didn’t have any worries. No one can ever take away our memories.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. This is the best story. It showcases what a wonderful choice your mother made to comfort you in your distress and giving you credit for sincerely regretting a mistake. She must have been one incredible human being.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Ami! You’re like an old friend I haven’t heard from in a while. I loved the story. I choked up a little. Well, I kept the old family house when my parents passed. It’s been our summer home for many years and I still love it.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. This was a lovely story. I could visualize your experience by the way that you described it. I have had similar memories from so long ago that come up through unexpected postings and pictures.

    Thank you for sharing. A good story for today’s times.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so pleased to see you in my email once again. I have missed you. It was such a delight to read your story about your childhood home. It brought back many memories of my own childhood, though there were six brothers and sisters around. Thank you for that. I wish you all kinds of happiness.


  18. Hi Scooter!
    I have missed you and wondered how you were doing. Sounds like life has been good! And, what is better than having a Turkey fall from the sky to play with you! Wow! You must have been tired after all of that play. Please write more often to let us know how you are doing.

    Hi Ami,
    Scooter seemed to think you are doing well also. He did mention that since you retired the mail person has practically nothing to do, and really misses the annual dying and drying of the sisterhood panties hanging on your tree. I miss your humorous newsletters also. Scooter told me you get your humor from him. And, since he is quite the funny guy, I guess I can’t question it. Hope you both stay safe and warm. Oh, almost forgot, he told me to put a bug in your ear that Christmas is coming, and he deserves something extra nice under the tree this year! Merry Christmas and a prosperous, healthy New Year to All!


  19. You may be one of the coolest bloggers I know. As I spend time reading your stories, I just never want them to end-must have the paperback series on my bookshelf. Thanks, Friend

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Ami, do try to reach out to the realtor via the agency and share your story just as you’ve written. I bet it would make that person’s day to know how that photo touched you so. Thank you for sharing your memories. You might want to print those photos and make a little book with more memories for your daughter and precious granddaughter.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I remember you trying to teach me your method of appliqué many years ago. Well, I finally “got it.” I have told my friends to google you.
    I love the story of the house…and remember when the puppy was training to be a therapy dog – poor little guy failed the course. I was so sad for the person who would never get him.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you can applique now. That’s great! And thanks for following me all these years…..all the way back to Daisy who we were socializing for Leader Dogs for the Blind. Sadly she was “career changed” but had a wonderful rest of her life in a loving home. A stellar dog, I’m sure, took her place, helping a visually challenged person lead a full life.

      Liked by 1 person

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