Shh. Be quiet. Don’t move. Hold your breath. No one will find me.
I know all the best places. The house is huge, castle-like, with lots of spots to get small and invisible. I know the best six places. No one knows I can fit in these spots. They don’t know how small I am. I just have to be quiet. I just have to make sure I don’t move when anyone is around. No one has found me yet in these places and I never tell where I was.
Sometimes I’d “hide” where I knew I’d get found. There are places that someone always hides in. Those places are sure to be looked at: behind the curtains in the living room, in the dirty laundry cart (yes, under the dirty clothes; yuck!), behind the bar counter, squeezed in next to the furnace, under a bed, in the front closet, in the pantry cupboard, behind the couch in the family room, covered up in bed (making the bed a mess; I never “made” my bed anyway), behind the chair in the living room. I let “It” find me every once in a while, so when I didn’t want to be found I’d get small and hide in one of MY places. Sometimes I took a flashlight and a book – I knew they would stop looking once they got tired of hollering out, "Olly olly oxen free!" If I was in one of my secret spots, I’d either stay hidden until no one would see me emerge, or I’d just stay hidden so I could be alone, be safe.
Soon all those favorite, secret places will belong to someone else. My mom is selling my childhood home. It’s about time. Keeping up on all the big and small jobs around a “castle” is hard for a family joining together to do it. It is too much for any one person. It is too much for my growing older mother. She’s had lots of help for the day-to-day things, most significantly, from my brother-in-law. He has mowed the lawn. He has snow-blowed and shoveled the snow. He has reached up high. He has taken trash out to the curb and the laundry up from the basement. And so much more. I want to publicly thank him from the bottom of my heart. I want my sister and brother-in-law to know I’ve trusted them to do what Mom needed done as best as they could.
This will not be my final good-bye. It is good-bye for now. Oprah said good-bye over the last three days for 25 years of her show. It will take me at least that long to say good-bye to the 51 years that my childhood castle has been central in my life.