I grew up in the House with the Cranberry Door.
I remember my mother choosing the color for that door, swatches of blindingly similar hues slathered onto the back side of the door. How she remembered what shade was what, I’ll never know.
My parents bought the House with the Cranberry Door when I was 8 years old. I remember the excitement I felt at having my own room and the terror of going to a new school.
To the right of our home lived Mr. and Mrs. Peacock. He worked a desk job, and she was a retired teacher. How we first learned that she was a retired teacher is when we excitedly showed up at their door for Halloween, trying to mask our disappointment at receiving molding clay for our trick-or-treat bags.
The neighbors to the left of us were simply known as “those who kindly threw the basketball or dodge ball back over the fence”.
Our favorite neighbors lived across the street from us – Hans and Anna. Hans and Anna were Swiss – German Swiss. They were robust and hearty – with ginormous smiles and contagious belly laughs. Every Christmas, Anna would invite us into her home to teach us how to bake traditional Swiss holiday treats. To this day, I still have the cookbook she lovingly prepared for me.
What I remember most about the House with the Cranberry Door is that it was a haven. My parents worked very hard at making it so.
It was first and foremost a haven for our family, but purposefully not exclusively.
The House with the Cranberry Door was a haven for the community our family encountered.
Every week, when the garbage men came to our street, my dad had hot coffee and doughnuts waiting.
Often, men would show up at our door, looking for work, as my dad had a reputation for hiring those in need of work for his construction business.
Through my mom’s ministry, many, many single adults who were displaced for holidays or just needed a home-cooked meal spent time in our home. As my mom’s vision and passion changed, our home became more and more a haven for women who had experienced trauma and abuse.
I, too, made use of the House with the Cranberry Door. For much of my tween and teen and even college years, I found myself drawn to misfits and fringe dwellers. I often brought those friends home, sometimes for a couple of days at a time, and they were always welcome.
I often dream about the House with the Cranberry Door. I dream that one day, miraculously, I will own that home.
Once and a while, I even drive by it,
To the passerby, the House with the Cranberry Door was not remarkable or particularly noteworthy. It had one bathroom. My parents even shared their bedroom with a washer and dryer, until my dad was able to remodel the place. There was nothing of grandeur or ornateness to it.
What the House with the Cranberry Door had to offer was so much more.
And for that, I am very fortunate indeed.