Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The legend of the icky house

Once upon a time ...

When we moved to our town almost five years ago we rented a sad little two bedroom house. The roof was scabby, the rooms were small and dark and a plethora of unpleasant box elder beetles crawled around the walls and windows.
It came to be known as the “icky house.” The second we sold our condo in St. George we started the process of finding a better home. As luck would have it, a house half-way down the block went up for sale the day we closed on the condo. Although this house has the same basic floor plan of the “icky house” it is a wonderful home. The kitchen has been remodeled, it has a full basement and a really lovely deck, and where the icky house had a brick planter in the middle of the living room, our new house has a hall.
I’m not really sure D is as enchanted with the new house as I am, but I do love the place. I love the yard with the big globe willow. I love the kitchen with its tiled floors. I even love the laundry room secluded in a corner in the basement instead of in a closet off the kitchen, as it was in the “icky house.”
A succession of people followed us in and out of the icky house. First came a divorced woman, her handicapped daughter and her angry teen-aged son. She was a nice lady with a heartbreaking history of marrying the wrong men and struggling with the challenges presented by her children.
She painted the white walls of the house green, added lovely furniture and interior design touches and made the house look as cozy as possible. But problem with her children eventually obliged her to move out of the house. The owners came in and quickly painted the walls white again, rendering it bland and colorless as it had been before she moved in.
Next came the Rubio family with their son, Joey. Mr. Rubio repaired the roof, and then one day they moved without warning.
The house was then sold to a skinny, shirtless man who looked like he could use a bath. His equally skinny woman, a baby, and a few dogs moved in with him and littered the lawn with automobiles, broken wicker furniture and what looked to be the remains of an above ground swimming pool.
Then they disappeared.
The wicker furniture rotted on the porch, papers gathered in the mailbox. The icky house is even sadder than ever with a rangy, weedy lawn and a broken fence leading to the back yard.
But the other day I noticed something really beautiful about the icky house. A huge rose bush bristling with the most luminous flowers I have ever seen.
The bush is taller than I am, crowned with peachy yellow roses reaching to the blue sky as if they are trying to escape their dingy yard.
I had to take photos, of course.
As I examined the flowers, I noticed wild roses intermingled with the more domesticated breed.
Of course I have to wax philosophical, I always do.
But the spectacular rose bush among the weedy yard had me thinking about how quickly nature returns in the wake of man.
It also thought about the beauty to be found among the ugliest situations.
And I felt sorry, as I often did, for the unlovely icky house that had been a rest stop and refuge for so many people, and a real home to so few of the families who had lived there.
I am getting ready to write a story about the “Foster Mother of the Year” in Tooele County. It is the story of a young woman, not yet 30, who along with her husband are in the process of adopting a sibling family of four … the oldest is 14, the youngest four years old.
She did not tell me details of their previous live. But she did say their mother’s rights had been terminated. As we talked the 14 year old boy hovered around offering his thoughts and she cuddled with the freckle-faced six-year-old girl who had just awaken from a nap.
She had tended the garden well. All I could see as the roses, not the weeds. But I know before she arrived on the scene the four children were sad and abandoned much like the icky house.
But she didn’t speak of the weeds, the bugs and the sadness. No, she was full of the joy of discovering beautiful, blooming flowers to add to her garden.


JoE said...

I love the photos of the roses...

the story of the icky house makes me sad....almost to the point where I wish that I could buy it and show it some love....that's probably all it really needs...

horseygal said...

I love those roses! I can't wait until my rose garden starts booming. I don't think I fertilized it soon enough. :-(

Wyo sis said...

You can really write. I hope you can get paid for it. I mean really paid not a part time newspaper job. The icky house sounds a lot like the scaty room, we have had one in every house we've lived in. More than one in some.