Maplewood Drive

Last night I dreamt I returned to the house on Maplewood Drive, where the old Oak tree spreads its branches over the front yard. In my memory the tree still keeps watch over the children playing in its dappling shade, even though it was uprooted in a terrible storm long ago, The vision of the sun on its golden leaves pierces my heart with gladness. It tells me my life was not lived in vain.

The concrete walkway which still divides the lawn, leads to the glassed-in porch rising above the bricked-in receptacle for flowers. After summer’s end the flowers will begin to die. The leaves will turn to gold and then brown as they fall, waiting for the rake to tease them into mounds for the children to laugh and leap into. Later, when the snow comes, when sunlight glitters on melting icicles hanging from gutters, the children will need new winter coats.

The house fit my vision of an older home, cheap, most likely in need of repair, but in a good location near a school; a used swing set would be found. The school lay just beyond three houses on our side of the street. An actual boon, as I often had to remind a child to watch for traffic before crossing the street.

When we bought the house its white paint was blistered by the sun, peeling randomly. Later, we painted it blue. Foreverafter, It would be called “the blue house” in a term of affection, even after it had been painted gray.

Maplewood was many things, to the children and to me. Also, in a different sense, to their father. You may later wonder why he’s left out of these passages—the reason being simple; his involvement with us was due to an act of generosity on his part, which, although bringing him gifts he hadn’t anticipated, derailed him from the life he’d sought.

When I told him of a time I’d felt downhearted but reminded myself of why I should be joyful, saying how it brought back my joy, driving the darkness away, he was shocked. “You manipulate yourself!” he exclaimed.

A brilliant man, he felt no need to monitor himself. Self-monitoring involves the ability to monitor and regulate emotions and behaviors in response to social environments and situations, being aware of your behavior and the impact it has on others.

Gratefully, I was able to cooperate with fate by modifying my lot so that today I rejoice in my memories of Maplewood Drive, knowing it was all worthwhile.  

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