When I had Heather Ross here the other week talking about growing up in Vermont, I got to thinking about my own childhood in Virginia, and asked my mom to send me some photos.
I actually got teary when I saw them. I’m not sure why, because this barn is as familiar to me as my own face. When I’m at home in Virginia and come across old pictures, they’re all in the context of this crazy family adventure that resulted in an amazing house and really special childhood. But when I see them on my computer in my perfectly normal apartment in San Francisco, the imagination and perseverance that it required of my parents comes into clearer focus. They decided to move out of the city, buy a 200-year-old hay barn, move it piece by piece to some land they bought, and re-assemble it into a home. They did this without much money, largely on their own (helped plenty by a volunteer crew of friends and family), so big wheels lived side-by-side with cement mixers.
This next one (below) is my favorite. At some point, the saw in the background moved upstairs, outside of my parents bedroom. Where it stayed until I was in high school. The barn was always a work-in-progress, and I guess that's the thing about childhoods. You don't know that it isn't exactly normal to play with dolls in the middle of a building site until you get a little older.
I love the barn like she is a person. We spent my whole childhood growing up together and uncovering who we always were. In some ways, I’d like to be more like her: a purposeful old soul with a big heart in a simple setting, who can weather any transformations that come her way.