U-Haulin’

My Return to Hell House is one of the better visits to my childhood home. My father isn’t here. His mistress isn’t here. My aunt and friends are here. The main prize is here: my parents’ nearly new washer/dryer. Last month, my brother looked the machines over and wished we could take them back to his place with our mother Iris (not her real name). Money’s tight—especially with this stunt our father pulled—and their washer no longer spins all the water out of their clothes. Sopping wet laundry will be a bigger problem now that Iris is moving in temporarily as we sort out her care. That moment I made a vow:

 

As God is my witness, I will get that washer/dryer to my brother and sister-in-law.

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Return to Hell House: Not a Lot of Good Memories Here

I’m sitting in the airport with two hours to go before my flight. Way too early, but I had to flee the silence of my house without my kids. Tonight, I fly to my hometown. Tomorrow, I’ll gather the rest of my mother’s things from my childhood home, the place I like to call Hell House.

 

A month ago, when the Family Crisis hit (Dad abandoning Mom for another woman, leaving my brother and me scrambling to manage her care), Good Brother and I returned to that house for the first time in years. After a day of hasty packing in preparation for my mother’s unexpected move, he sprawled on the couch and looked around at our surroundings: wobbly furniture with thirty years’ worth of dust in the crevices, boxes stacked in every room, and a gajillion religious knickknacks that made it all the more difficult to believe what my father has done.

 

“Not a lot of good memories here,” he said.

 

Good Brother is a man of few words.

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