Quail Manor, my childhood home.

Our property had countless quails living on it, so my dad affectionately titled the house “Quail Manor” when we first moved in, all those years ago.
A few weeks ago my parents moved from the home I grew up in.  I honestly never thought it would really happen.  And then it all happened so quickly, I really didn’t have time to process it all before the move.  To say I was emotional is a bit of an understatement. You just can’t mix pregnancy hormones with major life adjustments, like saying goodbye to the house you’ve called “home base” for over 19 years.  Yes, the house was just too big for my almost-empty-nester parents, and the huge property was too much for them to manage without help, but part of me secretly wanted them to stay there forever, you know, so I could, too.  No, I haven’t lived there for over 5 years, but it was always home.  And I think it always will be.  And the memories will always take me back, no matter where life takes me and plants me.  I think Quail Manor will always be the home of my heart.
 

 

The playhouse where my high school crush and I would “practice our stage kiss” after we were both cast as the leads in the school play. 
 
The tennis court where I learned how to work hard for success.  I also taught tennis camp here every summer for about ten years.
The private lane that always terrified me, even in my adulthood.  I must have been traumatized when a family friend thought it would be funny to pull a prank on me and hide in the bushes with a butcher knife.  Never really got over it!

 

The mail box at the end of the private lane that seemed 100 miles away when my mom told us to go get the mail.

 

My favorite willow chair, made by my mother, that always welcomed us home, and also provided a hiding spot for the house key. 
The shed we were always scared to clean out because I was convinced there was a legion of spiders and mice and snakes waiting to suck my blood upon entering.  Can you tell I had (have) an overactive imagination?

 

 

 

Scenes from beneath my walnut tree.  It was beneath this tree that I learned the value of hard work.  I distinctly remember the moment when I decided that I would be a hard worker.  It was when I was raking the leaves from under the walnut tree one hot Saturday morning and I was having a bad attitude.  I realized I could be miserable while I did my chores, or I could have a hard-working attitude and take pride in the work I had to do.  This walnut tree changed my heart, you could say.
Peace. Safety. Refuge. Love.
 
Here is to all the scone parties, cereal fests, charades games, tennis matches, D. family olympics, leaves raked, weeds pulled, horns honked at the blind corner, hustle bucks earned, yorkshire pudding dinners, impromptu water fights started by Dad, booty shake dances down the hall by Mom, fights over clothes and breathing too loud with the sisters, big bean bags at the bottom of the stairs, the 60 + trees on our property that provided the perfect scenario for being toilet papered, to Nikki and Lulu, and to the 13,870 + treks down that long private lane (just from me!).  I will never forget the love and safety Quail Manor provided for a young woman trying to figure out where she belonged in a big world.  At least she knew she always belonged when she was at home, if no where else.