I wanted a perfect ending.
Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme,
and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end.
Life is about not knowing, having to change,
taking the moment and making the best of it,
without knowing what’s going to happen next.
Delicious Ambiguity.

[Gilda Radner]

When I was in the lower grades, I had a friend who lived in a garage halfway on my walk to school. In those days, most garages were only large enough to accommodate one car and many had gravel floors. My friend lived in an ample two-car garage with a concrete floor. I thought it was enchanting. It reminded me of playing house in the yard when we would walk off where the imaginary walls were. “This is the living room and that is the baby’s room.”

When we entered the side door, I could see all four garage walls and an arrangement that looked like a furniture store. The back of the sofa and bookcases marked the perimeter of the living room. A stove, a table with chairs, and an Indiana cupboard marked off the kitchen. A vanity mirror and wardrobe edged the bedroom area. Everything was tidy and well kept.

That was more than fifty years ago. Looking back, I’m amazed that, as a child, I never wondered why that family was living in such an unusual circumstance. I simply thought is was a fun place to visit. I really doubt that my friend’s mother viewed her situation with the same delight. This morning, I was sweeping the dust bunnies from my oak floors and thinking about that woman I never really knew. Did she study the cracks in the concrete floor trying to make sense of her situation? Did she wonder how long her children and belongings would have to be housed in a garage? Did she ever get a home with real walls?

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