Memories of Home by Ruth Van Saun



Memories of Home by Ruth Van Saun

Mother is homesick today, dear. We have been visiting in the fragrance of an old-fashioned Home, and it fills me with the longing for the dear old home of my childhood days. The things we learn in childhood and take lovingly to our hearts, are the last with which we care to part.

Who that has grown to maturity in an old homestead, which is full of sweet memories, does not long to live her young life over, if only in dreams. Memories are so registered on our immortal-mind, that they become an eternal part of us. A familiar spot by the sea, a winding path through the woods, a book, a faded flower, a golden-tress, a glove,—all these and numberless more hallowed memories, big and little, hold some cherished place in our inmost-heart, bringing us back golden moments through the many years. They are all sacred moments which have been breathed upon by our very soul.

Some day we'll wander back again, dear, to where the Old Home stands, to the scene of my childhood joys and tears, to your Grandparents' Home. I shut my eyes and picture in memory the dear old home of the long ago, the blue skies, the rose garden and my playmates most dear,— all parts of childhood's memories sweet. I can see now, and smell too, the lilac-tree a-bloom in the corner by grandfather's gate. How we'll stroll and wander over the old homestead.

Here we are now, Diantha:

We pause, as we pass through the old front gate;
Mother shows you now where she lingered late,
And she'll try to picture her girlhood's fate,
And that of a lover and a mother's fate,
When her dream of this holy-hour, and you,
Had awakened and smiled, and in joy come true.
Here you see the stile where your grandmother sat,
In her queer old gown and her quaint old hat,
Here grandfather came, her charms to see,
And 'twas here Daddy whispered his love to me.

Then my vision anew carries me to grandmother's cookie-jar, that dear old brown jar that never was empty.
"In a dim old country pantry where the light just sifted through, Where they kept the pies and spices and the jam and honey, too, Where the air was always fragrant with the smell of things to eat And the coolness was a refuge from the burning summer heat; It was there I used to find it, when I went to help myself— The old Cookie Jar a-setting underneath the pantry shelf. Talk of manna straight from heaven, why, it isn't on a par With those good old-fashioned cookies from my Mother's Cookie Jar."

Then, Diantha, we'll make a bee-line to grandfather's apple-orchard, to the old spot where the cider-mill stood in the midst of piles and heaps of apples; red and yellow apples poured around the orchard-ground. We will see if grandfather's old sleepy horse " Jim, " still goes around and around, turning the cider-wheel as the apples are ground. I see now, I smell now, I can hear, the rich sweet cider flow,—drip, drip, drip, from out of the apple-press into the tub below.

I see, I hear, the yellow-jackets and the boomin' bees
A-swarmin' and a-buzzin',
And a-sippin' as they please;
I, too, drink so fast and furious, that it bubbles up my nose;
O the good smell, the sweet smell,—
When the cider mill o'er flows.

And then we'll go browsing along the waterways, the creeks and running-brooks, into the green woods, treading the tangled grasses, dotted with wild-flowers and humming-bees. I hear, again, the sweet tinkling of little bells hanging around the necks of the sheep as they jump over the bars of the quaint rail-fences on their way to the pastures.

Among the landmarks that are associated with our childhood, we can never forget the Dear Old Barn, another spot ever holding a hallowed-place in our youthful
memories. It was the place of many joys and some keen sorrows too,—our haven, our refuge. When the spirit possessed us, we wandered off to the barn, where we found solitude; or if we craved company other than our own kind, we found " Old Molly, " the carriage horse, petted her, and listened to her friendly nickers. Or off we went and played in the stable-loft with the perfumed breath of the meadow-hay, so sweet and soft; romped and played until we forgot to go and eat. And don't you remember how we went in search of a new-found hen's nest, hoping to carry back a surprise to mother—an apron full of new-laid eggs! Don't you remember the winter's wood-pile, how our brothers had to struggle with the buck and saw? How they'd play "hookey, " slip up in the barn loft, build a trapeze and do gymnastic "stunts" rainy afternoons?