I always felt somehow privileged that our home was situated the second door from Lewiston's 12-grade school, like having front row seats at a live performance, the school was right at our doorstep! My folks, Lawrence and Meta (Wollin) Lewis, bought our family home in 1945, when Dad returned from Italy, his final port of call from serving in the Merchant Marines. I'm the oldest, then came Mary one year later, Ronnie and Jean Ann to follow.
I am Alice at the tiny door, squeezing past the present. Restless dreams have transported me back to each room of that gray-slated two-story a time or two. I once discovered myself hanging weekly laundry on the rope clotheslines, strung between two study wood frames, in our ample back yard.
Before I allowed the dream to vanish, I listened for the scratchy drone of neighborhood radios, echoing through screen doors and windows, as a baseball announcer's sprightly commentary wafted through lazy backyards on Fremont Street, during the broadcast of a Sunday afternoon baseball game.
Lewiston's baseball field was a hop, skip, and a jump from our backyard. Local baseball games were big during my youth, as nearby towns competed. Even before we kids were old enough to go to the games, our family was inflamed with the excitement on game night! Those towering, lanky poles, that swayed in the wind, flooded not only the ball field with a glaring, penetrating brightness, but their intrusive electricity seemed to melt through our parent's open bedroom window, down the hall, and through the door of the room where we three girls slept. Noises of raucous rivalry trespassed upon our fitful dreams into the depth of night.
The upstairs bedroom window, in the NE corner of our house, framed outdoor activity from where I sat on the end of my twin bed, in that territorial, teeny bopping room I shared with Mary and Jean. Each one of us had our section of floral wallpaper to display our heartthrobs.
Trees that once cascaded and towered over both sides of Fremont Street no longer spread their shadows, and families a long time gone, are ghosts of fertile, homespun memories. My window's range of sight had me stranded just this side of the railroad tracks, where streetlights of Main Street stretched their fingers across a sleepy town's night.
As I sat on the bed to get dressed on dark and blustery winter mornings, the view from the window was my wakeup call to put on a second pair of wool stockings and heavy corduroy slacks. I could see sidewalks drifting shut, cringing because it was me who helped Dad do the shoveling. We had to get it done before kids made their way to school. We did the neighbors on both sides of us as well, because Dad was a very kind soul, and I loved him for that.
With teen years came dating and the desire to look more like a girl than a roughneck. I would often sit at that window in the dark watching for my date to come tooling down the street. The dressing table mirror saw us girls through many transitions - dreamy proms, wild and crazy PJ parties, and the pomp and circumstance of high school graduation.
It was in that bedroom where I dressed in my wedding dress, on June 5, 1965. As a young wife, I moved into another house, on another street, in my hometown of Lewiston, with my high school sweetheart, Pat.
In dreams, that bedroom window draws me in still...not looking out, but peering inside...leaving me to wonder, where has everyone gone?
Janet Burns will forever cherish the home on Fremont Street. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org