When you ask people, where do you feel the safest? Most people will say home, without hesitation.

“When you become the very demon you’ve been trying to outrun, you can not possibly understand the havoc you create for those who love you.” ~Unknown

Home is supposed to be safe. It’s your “free to be me” space. It’s the place you find comfort & acceptance. A home is filled with love & laughter.

But what if it isn’t? What if it’s also filled with terror, judgment, indifference & screaming? What if your little slice of heaven is often pure hell?

How ironic that the little red house was on Payne road? As I’ve gotten older I haven’t forgotten all that I saw at that house. But I’ve also learned more about the pain my Mom, aunts, uncles & grandmother endured. I am grateful that my parents shielded us to the best of their abilities & our house was a home.

That little red house was beautiful. It had a big yard, full of flowers, & a giant chestnut tree. We were the kids you saw happily playing. We climbed the pear trees, ran from the mean ol’ rooster, climbed the radio tower, went sliding & built forts. We’d eat rhubarb dipped in sugar and drink water straight from the hose. We went outside in the morning, played all day, & well linto the night. We’d play flashlight tag & catch fireflies in jars.

That little red house was the gathering place. It’s where we’d go for baked beans on Saturday nights with the entire family. Where snap chat was sitting on the porch cracking the ends off beans & listening to the adults talk. Who could forget all the dance parties with Nana & her Chantilly lace? She had cable, the best cereal & ice cream. Childhood heaven.

That little red house certainly did paint a pretty picture. There were so many happy days. We made the best memories. I miss those days. I miss those carefree children. I miss the whole family together. I miss really knowing my entire family. I miss those tender loving moments with adults who would share their wisdom and teach us all they knew. Rockwell himself couldn’t have painted a happier home.

That little red house was a liar. I thank God every day that I didn’t live there. I can remember as a kid waiting to be picked up. We just wanted out of there fast! My Mom would pack us all into the car, including my aunt & uncle. We’d beg my Nana to come to our house and stay for the night. She never did & to this day, I can not understand this. In the time it took a car to pull up the driveway & park, that little red house went from sunshine & smiles to darkness & desperation. He was home.

Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” — Kahlil Gibran

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