I didn’t think about why it was called “The Shoe” for a very long time. I just took it in and accepted it as a weird thing. Someone would name their house? Ok. Then I was thinking about it one day when I visited. They had seven children. Wait, the shoe… that meant… Oh yes.
“There was an old woman who lived in a shoe. She had so many children she didn’t know what to do. . .”
Right. That was why it was called “The Shoe”
I still forget from time to time and have to think a minute before it all comes back.
It’s like another grandparent’s home in some far off nostalgic way. They aren’t old enough to be my grandparents. They are more than twenty years too young. But they are far enough removed from me to feel old and wise. Not that I think of them as decrepit or crazy, the way that the term “old” usually means. I mean old in the way that you think of an old book. There are definitely things that were once in a little better condition, but nothing about a new book can compare at all.
There was some kind of deja vu in that house. It reminded me of my grandparents house. I would stand in the staircase and look over all the pictures. They were photos of the family, people I knew, some of them I didn’t. It was funny, to see how they reminded me of my parents, and yet some of their children reminded me of my parents. Their grandchildren were the ones I felt were most like me.
It was odd. I felt like they were my grandparents, but they weren’t. They were Tucker’s grandparents. Of course, they had plenty of grandchildren besides Tucker, but they were all children. Something about Tucker stood apart from all the others. Maybe it was that he and I had some kind of bond. Perhaps it was simply that he was the oldest. But I could sense that he had passed the divide between child and adult. He wasn’t fully an adult, he was really just a young teen, but he was grown-up. He just felt like he belonged in a way that none of the other grandchildren did. He was one of those people that felt like family.
What was it that made us feel like family? What made me feel like they were my grandparents? What made me feel like I was at home in their house? Was it the odd collection of things and pictures all over the place, some gathering dust just like at my grandparents house? Was it the way they included me in their dinner table conversations as if the 50 years between our ages didn’t exist? Was it the way they were kind? Was it how they always extended a standing invitation? Was it that we could joke and be serious in the same sentence and not blink twice? Was it that our parents had known each other as long as I could remember? Or were we actually related in a way we didn’t know?
I doubt I will ever be able to answer, but I know I will always feel as if we are related.
Because at “The Shoe” I am home.