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March 9, 2020

from “Home-Canned Magic,” Still Point Arts Quarterly, Spring 2020, by Anna Leigh Morrow

Catherine Scott, 2008. WC CC
My Nana’s house is magic to me. Of course, it’s really Nana and Papa’s house, but Nana is so completely the queen of her domestic domain that I often use only her name when I talk about their home. It’s nothing fancy — just a little white Kentucky farmhouse, two stories and a basement. The closets smell like mothballs, the linoleum floors smell like Lysol in the brown bottle, and the kitchen smells like homemade cinnamon rolls hot out of the oven. I have twenty-three years of memories made in that house, a lifetime of living next door to my grandparents, of humid summers spent drinking milkshakes and climbing trees in the front yard, of frosty winters spent eating piping-hot buckwheat cakes after the men of the family came in from deer hunting with cold fingers and hearty appetites.

Nana’s house is a map of my childhood. Memories linger with a faint glow in the corners, on the kitchen counter where I used to sit and eat cookies and chatter ceaselessly while Nana baked, in the spare bedroom with the lace curtains where I slept when I spent the night, in the wood-paneled basement where all the Morrow kids played dress-up and Legos and board games. This is the magic: how memories accumulate like snowflakes over the years, drifting through time, settling lightly on the windowsills, covering a plain white farmhouse in layers of moments, giving it texture and meaning and power beyond its four walls and shingled roof. It is the magic of how a house becomes a home.

—Anna Leigh Morrow, “Home-Canned Magic,” Still Point Arts Quarterly, Spring 2020

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