Hashtag Throwback Thursday. Here is a photograph of my childhood home. There were cherry trees in the backyard. The fruit ripening red. We ate them until our lips were stained and then ate more. My father cut them down in the early 80s and that was the end of that. The east side of Buffalo, New York was a neighborhood of nestled industrial vernacular homes, many of them doubles with an apartment on the top floor. It was a working class neighborhood populated mostly by first and second generation Italian and Polish immigrants. There was a bakery. There was a bar. There was a butcher. There was the church and its school. My street was lined with maples and in the winter the snow was shoveled into mounds at the ends of the driveways. The neighborhood teemed with children. Catholics. They smoked cigarettes and threw rocks. They built fires and poured gasoline on them and watched the flames rise. Their hockey sticks scraped the streets. They rode bicycles in groups and instead of ringing a doorbell, they yelled outside the homes of their friends for them to come out and play. My parents rented out the upper apartment to help make ends meet. They rented it to a couple. The woman plodded up the stairs in the evening and down them in the morning. I believe she was a teacher. Her pear shaped husband wore white t-shirts that were washed and rewashed until they were a dull gray. On exceptional evenings I could sit on the steps that led up to the apartment and listen to the woman yell and break plates over her husband’s head. I imagined him just sitting there, head down, aware of his failures and unable to do anything about them. At some point she kicked him out and I never saw him again. Afterwards, she seemed to carry an unknown weight up and down those stairs. Sometimes I would see her at the bus stop shifting from foot to foot waiting. I’m not sure why I remember that, maybe there was something to the image that was universal. A broken woman was waiting while her life whirled around her. But waiting for what exactly? For the comfort of home. For the telling and retelling of the stories that shaped us. In the old houses of my youth were the same old stories. This generation built on the backs of the previous generation. The neighborhood was populated by the past. It stretched both backwards and forwards. In the houses were the old furniture inherited from the death of parents. Linens, plates, and silverware all seemed to be imbued with a sense of history. The recipes of my grandmother in a tin box on a shelf. These items were the thin threads that connect generation to generation, and keep their stories alive. The houses contain them all. They are etched into the stairs with the weight of the broken tenant and in the yard with the tartness of cherries. The houses windows like eyes looking and remembering. They sit, those houses with their stories, waiting for when the rot of October succumbs to the snow of an unseasonable December which melts again to hyacinth. In the attic where I left my youth, I found my mother in a quiet box-tucked neatly behind the memories of an Easy-Bake oven, Spirograph, and orphaned Legos. Each of which carries their own stories and the stories from those stories. My sister and I were just getting things in order, pulling down my mother’s clothes to pack them in black plastic garbage bags so they could be hauled off to the Goodwill, as you are wont to do after an unimaginable grief, and then, like that, there she was again. Without the port or tubes, in perfect Kodachrome, knee-deep in the lake with her playful smile that we keep with us like the scent of the hyacinth that she planted and still lingers.