[ A year old English assignment on “home” that I discovered in the bowels of my external hard drive. A bit on the cheesy side, I admit, but girls who lose their fathers at eighteen are allowed to be nostalgic. ]

Some may say my childhood home is cluttered, or lacks a cohesive design style – I say my home is made of history. Daily histories are piled on the floor by the front door: my father’s work boots, mud-caked from tromping through the wet lands in front of our property; a stack of homework, mine or my sister’s, spilling out of a hastily discarded backpack; dainty high-heeled shoes traded by my mother for a worn pair of slippers after a wearying work day. Personal histories plaster the walls and shelves: my parents’ wedding photo hanging above the mantle, with my father’s Marine Corps saber below; grade-school pictures stashed in mismatched frames along the stairwell, a visual progression of embarrassing outfits and home-cut bangs; a life’s worth of height marks dutifully recorded on the kitchen door frame as my sister and I struggle to beat each other by a centimeter or an inch. Family histories, however, those steeped in the familiar and weighty word tradition, are the intangible qualities that transform this house into a home: the quiet crinkle of my mother turning a newspaper page as she sits at the kitchen table; my father humming along to Arlo Guthrie as he chops vegetables for tonight’s beef stew; the mysterious and enviable maturity of my sister’s closed bedroom door. Every sight, every sound, every scent is a history, and this history is my foundation.

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