A home is more than a structure that keeps storms out and heat in. While is does give us shelter, it is also a photo album, a memory card, a story-teller and even a museum.
Truman Capote's Summer Crossing shows how much of someone is revealed by their home. This 1940's New York City tells the story of a 17-year-old girl searching for discovery. Grady McNeil, despite what her parents may think, pursues a relationship with Clyde Manzer who works as a parking lot attendant. Although she knows that her parents would never approve of someone like Clyde, she quickly enters a serious relationship with him.
However, Grady cannot understand Clyde. She attempts to ask him questions about where he came from and what his family is like, but the limited answers are not satisfactory. Grady tries everything she can to understand him, but nothing will give her insight into his life. That is, until she figures out the only thing that will give her clues about the she is attached to.
His house. Grady realizes that seeing where he grew up and what kind of family he had is the only way to understand anything about him. Although on her first attempt to go to Clyde's house she runs home after about twenty steps because she is so afraid of the neighborhood, she finally spends an evening in his house. This results in some insight about who Clyde is.
How can a structure reveal so much about a person? It is not the structure itself that reveals information, it is the trail we leave behind us. As pieces of our lives are left lying around our houses, they signify what is important to us, how messy we are, what memories we have, and the list goes on and on. The growth chart penciled on the kitchen wall tracking the height of each child throughout their entire lives could signify that the house centered around children. The baseboards in my kitchen, covered in puppy teeth marks, indicate that dogs are an important part of my life.
We leave a trail of clues in our houses everyday. The smallest things, like what we had for lunch, can tell enormous truths. The dirty hand prints on the window become a photo album, the rusty bicycle becomes a memory card, the stack of CD's becomes a story-teller and the box of old shoes becomes a museum.