author Jackie Haugh prepares for her father to live with herDriving the half hour trip to my childhood home, an overwhelming emotion brought me to tears. This would be the last time I came home to visit.

My parents bought this house as I was turning seven-years-old. For fifty-one years, it’s been the place where I held precious memories of my youth: the trees I climbed and hung out in for hours, the road to the hill I walked to sit and stare out over the Bay Area and think my thoughts, the bedroom where I spent countless hours playing with my dolls as a little girl and later where I created my dreams for my future.

Tomorrow, June 1st, 2011, my ninety-five-year-old father comes to live with me and from that day forward any trips home I make will be to clean it, sort out possessions, give away unwanted items, and finally, sell it. A chapter is closing.

But the thing I must always remember is a structure we live in is not the real home. It’s the sweet memories we keep in our hearts of the love a family shares. I know I will cry as I lock that front door because that’s what I do best when touched by a precious recollection, but I will take the history of the Madden family with me and keep it safe forever in my heart.