What's in a Home, a Basement, a Car

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A Dozen Things Every Home Should Have

Indoor plumbing
A dry basement
A sound roof
Laughter
Listening
Shelves with plenty of books and some family treasures
A playroom
A warm and nurturing hearth
Big windows open to the world
Blankets, pillows and loved ones to cuddle with
Room to be yourself
A welcoming bed

Kerry Temple is the editor of this magazine.


What’s in My Car

A new baby, a new car seat, sippy cups, Goldfish crackers.
Runny noses, cold coffee, warm Diet Coke, a baby, a toddler and a big sister nodding off to sleep.
A stroller, sunscreen, diapers, wipes, apple juice sprayed on the driver’s side window.
Spiderman Band-Aids in the first-aid kit.

Illustration by Greg Kletsel

Sparkles from a princess dress she wore to the library, a missing ballet slipper, a map from the zoo.
DVDs without cases and cases without DVDs, broken headphones, spare batteries, booster seats, dirty socks and orders taken before we get to the drive-thru lane.
Farts, giggles, booger cakes, asteroids and aliens, NERF gun darts in the cup holders.
Play dates, overnights, last week’s spelling list, dull pencils and the angst of too much homework.
iPads, iTouch and the constant wails of “When can I get a phone?”
“What the?” “crap,” “friggin’” and warnings about “pre-swearing.” “Not in my car,” I tell my son.
Hockey sticks, hockey pucks, hockey tape and hockey cards, including some guy named Murphy, plays right wing, I’ve never heard of him.
Soccer cleats, karate belts, borrowed speed skates.
Life lessons, being benched, making the roster, tears in the parking lot, wanting them to lose in the semis so we can just go home.
Carpools, giggles, “Dude, no way, so sick, I know, right.” New team stickers and old team jerseys.
An odometer turning as we pull into a parking lot for tournament games in Canada, Detroit, St. Louis, South Bend.
Sports drinks, protein bars, high-energy carbs, chocolate milk and PBJ.
Water bottles without lids and lids without water bottles.
A lavender-scented tree I bought at the gas station. A 7-year-old voice asking, “Mom, why did you buy lavender?” My voice answering her, “It’s supposed to be calming.”
A teenager’s voice softly singing popular music as she stares out the window. Conversations that are easier when she doesn’t have to look me in the eye.
Spare change, an extra twenty, sunglasses, reading glasses, a pack of gum, jumper cables, simple tools, a tartan blanket, hot pink pepper spray, an extra set of gloves.
The sound of children’s voices, talking, fighting, laughing, crying, singing, soaring.
Miles going by.

Maraya Steadman ’89, ’90MBA lives in a Chicago suburb and is a stay-at-home mother of three children.


In My Parents’ Basement

Discarded collections: PEZ dispensers, foreign coins, stamps, baseball cards (no monetary value — I checked)
The dresser whose top drawer never quite closed right
Shoeboxes full of photos of people no one recognizes
A set of encyclopedias (printed before anyone knew where Vietnam was)
Well-thumbed Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys and Zane Grey books
Once-popular small appliances: yogurt maker; pasta maker; ice cream maker
8-track cassettes (but no vinyl)
Warped metal TV stand

Illustration by Greg Kletsel

Candles (for when the power goes out)
Royal typewriter
Old hobbies: jigsaw puzzles, cross-stitch kits
Stuffed animals (rubbed bare by love)
Fashion dolls (with missing hair) and homemade doll clothing
Local theater playbills (Annie Get Your Gun)
Old license plates
Ball caps advertising now-extinct companies (Oliver tractors)
Christmas ornaments, wrap (some used) and greeting cards
Broken washing machine
Hamster cage (the critters tended to die young)
Ash trays
Elementary school report cards and art projects (was my hand ever that little?)
Torn boxes of board games: Monopoly, Candy Land, chess, Sorry! (and my favorite, Chinese checkers)
Box of old, cheap souvenirs from trips to Mammoth Cave, Chicago, Canada
Orange recliner (ugly and dirty)
The sense of time passing

Carol Schaal ’91M.A. is this magazine’s managing editor.

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