A Good Home
156 pages

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156 pages

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A Good Home is an addictive read, a profoundly emotional book about the author's early life in rural Jamaica, her move to urban North America, and her trips back home, all told through vivid descriptions of the unique homes she has lived in -- from a tiny pink house in Jamaica and a mountainside cabin near Vancouver to the historic Victorian farmhouse she lives in today, surrounded by neighbors who share spicy Malaysian noodles and seafood, Greek pastries and roast lamb, and Italian tomato sauce and wine (really strong wine).

Full of lovingly drawn characters and vividly described places, A Good Home takes the reader through deeply moving stories of marriage, children, the death of parents, and an accident that takes its high-flying author down a humbling notch. Its pages sparkle with stories and reflections on home as:
  • A foundation on which to build connections with children, relatives, and friends
  • A place to celebrate the joys of elegant design, overflowing gardens (except for the wisteria vine, which cannot be coaxed into blooming), and the sharing of good food
  • A wise teacher, showing us who we really were -- and who we really are
When this brave, clear-eyed, and honest book returns, full circle, to the way it began, readers will want to read it all over again.



Publié par
Date de parution 01 mai 2013
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781927483565
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0025€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


a good
a good
Copyright © 2013 by Cynthia Reyes
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Published in 2013 by BPS Books Toronto and New York www.bpsbooks.com A division of Bastian Publishing Services Ltd.
Paperback ISBN 978-1-927483-48-0
ePDF ISBN 978-1-927483-57-2
ePub ISBN 978-1-927483-56-5
Cataloguing-in-Publication Data available from Library and Archives Canada.
Cover photo: Hamlin Grange
Cover design: Daniel Crack, Kinetics Design
Text design and typesetting: Kinetics Design, kdbooks.ca
To my family, past, present and future, and to the stranger who led my great-grandmother across the river
A House Imagined
Part One
Island Home
The Little Pink House
Grandmother’s House
Paradise Lost
A House Full of Women
Angels Passing Through
Stick a Pin There
A Home of Our Own
I See My Grandmother Differently
Seed Money
Afternoon Tea
Tempest in a Tea Cup
Part Two
Northern Home
Inhaling Ice
A Good Time
Mountain Cabin
Enter, Hamlin
The Red Brick House
Have House, Will Garden
Jamaican Dreams
The Painting
Paradise Regained
Betrayal and Loss
A Secret Garden
“Solid and Sensible”
More Important Than Things
Part Three
Visiting Home
Mama Throws Down the Gauntlet
A Lot of Grace
My Inheritance
The Rebel Gene
Market Day and a Confession
Part Four
The Blue House
Country Road
Entertaining Angels
Doubting St. Thomas’
The Grandmothers Have Spoken
Red Brick House Redux
A New Church
Expect the Unexpected
A Wish Granted
Part Five
The Old Farmhouse
Mysterious Charms
Hamlin Plants Flowers
Homecoming Days
A Thing of Beauty
Crying Over Red Shoes
Words Fail Me
St. Martin’s Day
All Shall Be Well
New Wine
Strength from the Past
What Remains
Home at Last
Discussion Guide
A House Imagined
T he fire glows brightly, the wood floors nearby reflecting its warmth. The burning logs smell of maple and apple wood. Embers spark. Wood ash sifts through the grate.
It’s a quiet evening in our old farmhouse northeast of Toronto.
It should be dark outside, but it isn’t. A thick blanket of white covers the ground, lighting up the garden. High above it, the snow traces the bare limbs of the old apple trees and tops the thick branches of the evergreen spruce. Everything is tranquil, motionless.
The photos on the fireplace mantel, taken several years before, show our mothers and daughters. Smiling, laughing, playing together. Images of happy times, family, love.
The shelves nearby house books, precious books. A copy of The Secret Garden , the inside page containing a few handwritten words to our younger daughter, Lauren, from her sister Nikisha. An old book of poetry that’s been thumbed through at least a hundred times. The large burgundy-covered family Bible, thumbed through less often, mostly in times of leisure or times of trouble. A photo album containing scenes from Nikisha and Tim’s wedding day. A book about Jamaican culture, along with one on Canadian history.
My husband, Hamlin, lies sprawled on the sofa, his face hidden behind the science-fiction book he is reading. At just under six feet tall, he has to bend his legs to fit.
A dog is curled up by his feet. Lauren’s puppy, here for a visit. Julius Caesar, the tiny part-Pug, part-Chihuahua, the little brown dog with the big name. He opens one eye suddenly, making sure we haven’t sneaked out of the room. Satisfied, he closes it again. In a short while, he’s snoring.
“Hard to believe a little thing like this can make such a big sound,” Hamlin says, laughing.
We’ve been in the farmhouse now for five years.
When we first put in our offer to buy the house, in the winter of 2004, I imagined Christmas lights strung through the branches of the tall blue-green spruce trees at the far end of the large back lawn.
I imagined the family dinners, the birthday parties, the beautiful gardens visible from every window, the warm glow of Christmas in every room.
Our daughters called it a Christmas house and were already planning the decorations. Hamlin – determined that this would be our last move as a family – called it our forever house. I called it our grown-up house because of its elegant, traditional rooms.
“When we move into the new house …” we’d say as we packed boxes and crates with items from the kitchen, bedroom, and dining room of our former house.
“When we move into the new house …” we’d say as we put off hosting dinners with friends.
“When we move into the new house …” we’d say as we decided which items of furniture would fit nicely where we were going and which had run their course.
Then, just two weeks before the move, on a mild evening in June, another car crashed into mine.
Much later, I would look back and say: “A thing that’s going to change a person’s whole life shouldn’t be so quick. It should take more than an instant.” But that’s all it took.
Injured from head to toe, on many days I couldn’t walk, talk, or even think. The move into our new home barely registered in my mind. The tall maple staircase, a welcoming feature of the house when we first saw it, was now an obstacle.
The family dinners and parties, the gardening, stringing Christmas lights in the welcoming arms of the spruce trees – none of that took place.
The active, happy times with my husband and daughters did not take place.
Overnight, my life changed so drastically I could neither believe nor accept it.
On days when I descended the stairs but couldn’t climb back up, I stared balefully at them, and at the house around me, giving in to a helpless feeling or two, giving voice to a swear word or three.
I was trapped. Trapped inside an old house whose thick walls blocked out all sounds, creating an unbearably pure silence. The house’s spacious, high-ceilinged, traditional rooms, beautiful and grand when I had first seen them, now intimidated me as my independence diminished.
“What happens to a gardener who can no longer garden? A public speaker who no longer speaks? A writer who no longer writes? A mother who no longer mothers?” I asked my husband on one of those dark days of fury. “Am I still a gardener? Am I still a writer, a public speaker? Am I still a mother?”
I stopped there, not voicing the question I was too afraid to ask him: “Am I still a wife?”
Alone by myself one day, lying in bed, I faced the silent, empty house and asked those questions, all of them this time. The walls stared back.
Before the accident, I had enjoyed a busy, award-winning career. In my spare time, or while travelling to foreign destinations, I had also written more than fifty stories, getting some of them published, filing and forgetting most of them, moving them from house to house along with the furniture. I couldn’t remember them all, but I knew that many were about the unusual homes in which our family lived, the people we met, our unexpected adventures. Some were even about my childhood home.
“We need to find them, Cynthia,” Hamlin said one day, as he walked into the bedroom. He sat at the edge of the bed and patted my injured leg through the bedspread. “We need to find your stories. Can you remember where we might have put them?”
I stared at him. Remember where we had put them? I couldn’t even remember what day it was. But he was determined to find them.
Perhaps in these stories, he thought, I’d be reminded of the woman I was. And perhaps this discovery would help me find the strength and faith I would need to face the uncertain future. This I saw in his eyes, the way some couples do, even before he said the words.
For minutes here, an hour there, Hamlin searched.
Over the course of nearly one year, he found the stories in old computers, ragged boxes, and en

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