Dad seemed confused, so I found some pictures to show him. We looked at a picture of him and Mom dancing at our son’s wedding; he liked the picture but didn’t know the people. We looked at pictures of him as a young boy and a picture of his father. When I pulled out the picture of the yellow house, nothing about it registered with him either. He seemed more settled, but I realized, once again, that none of those memories, even of this very special house, were still tucked away in his mind.
The bush family lived here
The yellow house was extra special to Mom and Dad because the Bush Family had lived there when their children were growing up. I can just imagine the conversations George and Barbara had about the oil business, politics and baseball while sitting at the kitchen table. Later, the house would be filled with heartache and grief when Robin died of leukemia. So many words spoken, laughter heard, and tears shed inside those walls.
Of course, the Bush Family did not know my family, but we felt a sort of bond with them since we were making memories in the same house. We played in the same backyard, rode bikes on the same streets, ate our meals in the same kitchen, and even went to the same neighborhood schools. They never knew about this bond we felt with their family.
In recent years, we saw George and Barbara Bush at Houston Astro games and Texans football games. They always looked happy to be together…smiling, holding hands, leaning in to whisper to each other. They set a great example of love and marriage for all of us who watched from a distance. We all knew that his heart was broken when she passed away a few months ago. I cried then…and again a few days ago when he passed away, as if they were my own family.
The house and the memories I have of it, I realize now, are precious for many reasons. When I think of Mom and Dad before Alzheimer’s, many of my thoughts go back to this house…
- Dad playing the guitar in the living room
- Mom putting the Thanksgiving dressing in the oven
- Dad washing the camper to get it ready for vacation in the mountains
- Sitting on the back porch with Mom after supper
- Learning to sew
- Sitting on the hallway floor to talk on the only phone
- Decorating our 70’s style Christmas tree…white with an electric color wheel beneath it, turning the tree green, blue, red and yellow.
Dad didn’t remember any of this that day when I showed him the picture of the yellow house, and Mom had lost these memories long ago. Their home is in Heaven now, but the memories made in the yellow house are now safely tucked away in my mind.
If you have never been to this house, which is now a museum, be sure you go the next time you’re in Midland. It was yellow when I lived there but has now been restored to the original gray.
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