My name is Lilly Dale and I’ve come to see this house. I wanted to see if what mamma said was right. She said, “Don’t waste too much time chasing dirt around yur house. It will still be standin long after yur dead and buried.” I guess she was right cause we buried mamma five years ago and this old house is still standin.
My mamma was born and raised here. In fact, she lived inside those broken down walls most all her life. I was born here too. I lived with my mamma and granny till granny died. Mamma got too sickly to take care of herself let alone a little kid, but we managed til her lungs got so bad she had to go to a sanatorium in Colorado. I got sent to live with the man mamma said was my daddy. He must a been, otherwise I doubt he would have been agreeable to that arrangement.
I’m 15 now. School got out for the summer two days ago and instead of going home, I took a bus here. Mr. Jim doesn’t know I come here. I call him Mr. Jim. It just don’t feel right to call him Daddy. He don’t like my name Lilly Dale either. “Why would yur mamma give you a pretty woman’s name and a 2nd name of Dale?” When he does use my name, he calls me Lil, which I don’t like.
You see that window that’s got cardboard over it? It’s been like that for as long as I can remember. Granny said some mean boys threw rocks at it til it busted. She didn’t see no reason to fix it cause she didn’t enjoy looking out that window anyway.
Mamma said the house was kinda pretty once. I think she was dreamin that don’t you? She said they had good times here when her daddy was still alive. He kept things up. You know..fixed things when they broke down. I don’t know about that. I never saw this house with a lick of paint on it, inside or out.
No, It’s been a long time since anybody chased dirt around this house, but I guess it did what it was supposed to. It was a roof over people’s heads. We always stayed warm and had food to eat. That’s better than some have it.
Now that I look at it..That front window might a been kinda pretty once. If a person ever lives here again, they should tear the old lean-to that’s hanging off the side door down. It’s nothin but a place for rats and snakes to live under.
Well, I’m guessin it’s time for me to catch the bus back home. I just wanted to make sure mamma was right. The other thing she always said was, “Lilly Dale, you gotta put up with trash to rise above it.” I’m not exactly sure what that means, but I think I gotta go to school til I get my certificate. Mamma sure did want her daughter to get educated.
“Goodbye house. You did what you was supposed to do, now that’s what I’m gonna do too!”