Mother's house was her snailshell, except that she never moved it, perhaps because her childhood was spent moving from house to house according to her father's employment fortunes, which were controlled by how well he knew the local politicians and how much he drank. Well, Mom did move once, to Texas, because Dad, who was also good with people but who didn't drink, got a job promotion.
Waco, Texas, was a shock to her because it was so different from Akron, Ohio. Texas accents back then were so strong that they sounded like a foreign language. And there weren't many natural trees around. And the rather plain one-story house Dad had bought for the family was so different from her charming two-story in in Ohio. Sure, the Texas house came equipped with a dishwasher, washing machine, and two bathrooms, but its front porch was minuscule, the kitchen was a quarter of the kitchen she had left behind her, it lacked a real dining room, AND THERE WAS NO BASEMENT.
Fio remembers the look of horror on Mother's face, the tears in her eyes, when she met the house for the first time, but being her mother's daughter, she rolled up her sleeves and went to work, dragging Dad in her wake. The garish wallpaper was the first thing to go.
Through the years, Mother brought that little house on Proctor Avenue to its glory. It was her creation, her haven, her stability, and she lived in it the rest of her life, never having to move again.