Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Kool-Aid House

The house pictured is the childhood home of my long-time best friend Kristy. Kristy grew up practically in my back yard(or I hers). Now, Kristy will probably question why I would choose the back of the house to photograph but I wanted to capture it as I saw it for all these years. That back door led directly into the kitchen and that brings us to the days of the Kool-Aid house.

Kristy's mother was Mary Alice, and she was the qunitessential Kool-Aid Mom. She always made sure the doors were wide open and the welcome mat out for all of the neighborhood kids. Those doors include the refrigerator door which got a workout from all of us. Her hubby Marshall was none too thrilled that we all were given carte blanche to their home but Mary Alice wouldn't have it any other way. She brought color and light and laughter to the whole block and we couldn't wait to not only invade her home but hang out in her personal orbit.

Kristy and I spent our childhoods crossing that alley between our homes. We'd spend Christmas Eve as children whispering to each other on our walkie-talkies looking for Santa Claus until we fell asleep. That back yard hosted many a game of Red Rover. We gave the kitchen quite the workout creating our "food experiences" which were occasionally successful but frequently frightening.

All these years later, many things have changed but fate brought Kristy and I back to our childhood homes again. I found myself crossing that alley once again on a near-daily basis to visit Kristy for breaks from caregiving. Those visits featured, as they did during our childhood, much laughter, a few tears and more than one cathartic rant.

We tragically lost Mary Alice to cancer several years ago. Kristy, while not necessarily setting out to, has carried on the spirit of her mother. Her home was always open to me and our conversations, no matter how grave, would at some point find the humor even when it seemed there was none to find. I can't imagine having gone through the past several months without Kristy and the comforting presence of this childhood home was a fitting setting for regrouping. The Deem household was a fun retreat for me as a kid and now, years later, it was a much-needed respite during a stressful time.

Long live the Kool-Aid house.


Kristy said...

I have nothing to say but Thank You. Long live the Kool Aid House indeed.

Lisa Mandina said...

What a wonderful memory! I wish I had friends like that. Really it is just family I have to feel like that about.

Anonymous said...


Kristy said...

Lisa, come on over to WV. It's really ok to drink the Kool Aid at my house ;) There is room for all.

Anonymous said...

I used to use the trash cans to climb in Kara's room. Played football in that back yard and would run up those stairs to get a sandwich and a drink when I got thirsty and hungry.
If every kid in the world had a "kool aid" house, then the world would be a MUCH BETTER place and kids would know what TRUE LOVE is. Thanks for sharing your experience Greg.
Holly Smith

Kristy said...

AWWWWW! Miss Holly Belle. Our teen weeny shirtless (most of the time) mascot. You are wise beyond your years Holly. And Miss Mary Alice would be so proud of you now. Of course she would give you a sandwich and kick you back down the steps as she was telling you this because there was a kickball game in progress LOL! P.S. those trash cans did come in handy even when kara and I got older and they are still in place today LOL!

Confounded Cook said...

The most climbed-on trash cans in the universe...undoubtedly. Aand is there any doubt as to why those steps ended up so worn out? Talk about well-traveled...I made sure trash cans were in the pic to give people a point of reference. Ah, and then there was Red Light, Green Light.

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