Friday, November 16, 2012

Childhood Homes



The last of my childhood homes is being sold.  They sign the papers today.  Its a bittersweet thing for me, as could be imagined.  My dad and stepmother have decided to sell it and have had a new home built.  The will be nearer the mountains.  Nearer to grandchildren and their own grown children.  Away from the hustle and bustle of the oil boom that has taken over my formerly quiet little hometown.  I am happy for them.  I think it is exciting.  I hope they absolutely love their new town and new house and all the possibilities open for them.  But, I am a touch sad to think of never returning to that house again.  Never sleeping in “my” room in the basement again.  Never eating again in that dining room where I ate so many meals.  I lived so many formative years there its strange to think its not ours anymore and that I won't go back through those door again.    
Photo by my sister, Sarah.

I’ve had what I consider to be three childhood homes.  The little green house where I spent my early childhood.  The house on 9th street which I’ve come to think of as my mom’s house because after my parents divorced my mother kept it and my dad first rented an apartment, but then got a house of his own—the third of my childhood homes.  I lived with both parents after that point so I had two simultaneously.  

We left the little green house when I was young and I don’t really remember the move itself and any real emotion about it.   My mom sold her house on 9th street years ago when she remarried and moved from my hometown as well.  (And I was only really sad to think that my Dark Side of the Moon wall mural in my former bedroom was going to be painted over.)  Maybe the reason it wasn’t so poignant was because I still had my dad’s house to go home to.  My dad’s house was the last one.  And now it too will become someone else’s home.  Its interesting how things change, but I suppose that is the very nature of existence—change.  I just hope the new folks to live there make as many happy memories there as I have.
Photo by my sister, Sarah.

I can remember my dad saying that as a kid he could never get kites to fly and I took him to the empty lot out back back and up and away it went and he was flying kites with a smile.  I can remember having my kite land on the far side of the parked trains on the tracks beyond the same empty lot behind our house and having to break the string and dash under the trains to retrieve my kite.  I didn’t like it.  I can remember countless games of darts in the basement.  I always had terrible aim.  I could hit the board, generally, but if I had to hit any particular number it was a lost cause.  I can remember before the bedroom adjacent to the kitchen was remodeled into a dining room—and there were still three kids at home—the kid who sat on the end by the fridge, usually my sister Sarah as I recall, was referred to as “Fetching Girl,” and made to retrieve anything (ketchup, iced tea, etc) that was needed from the fridge.  I can remember the first time I ate real homemade fried chicken was at that house.  Dana makes the best fried chicken (and even though I don’t eat chickens anymore I still know that to be true.)  I can remember playing James Bond video games with my stepbrother and my dad.  My dad always thought the game was cheating him.  I remember toaster strudel for breakfast which I always thought was just the best breakfast ever.  I remember how my dad babied his cat, aptly named Baby.  Baby regularly got a little treat at the dinner table, but had special requirements which my dad accommodated such as Baby didn’t like breaded meat so the breading had to be removed.  He also didn’t like saucy meats so the sauce should be removed, too.  I remember playing with my niece Savannah when she would come to visit from the time she was a little baby and now she is so grown up.  I remember there were little plastic candles lit in the windows every Christmas. 
Photo by my stepmother, Dana.
Even though I said it is bittersweet I know that I don’t need the physical house to remember all that.  I’ll remember it just the same.

6 comments:

  1. I think houses are such emotional spaces as they are more than just a house. So I know how it must be hard to know that you won't be able to have that physical connection to it anymore.
    The house we first set up home in when we married was bulldozed to make way for a new very flash house. But I know it will always live on in my heart and mind.
    By the way I meant to let you know sooner. You know when you asked me what a tip was? It's where we take all our rubbish. I think you might call it a rubbish dump? Hope that helps :)

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    1. Ah, thanks. A tip. I'd have never gotten that. (This now leads me to wonder what you'd call the extra money--gratuity--that you'd leave a waiter/waitress. That's what I know as the word "tip!")

      Having your house bulldozed would be quite the ordeal, I'd think! My! At least mine is still there to drive past, should I happen to be in the area. But, like you said, its the stuff that lives on in your heart that is the real bulk of it.

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  2. My childhood home is still where I left it but my Grandma is long gone so it doesn't even feel like "going home" anymore. Home is here; if that makes sense.

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    1. Ah, that's true, Becky. The people make the memories which make the places, don't they...

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  3. I lived in a house from 1975 to 1977 and hated every moment in the house. It was just horrid in so many ways. We lived there when I had my third child and lived there until she was 20 months old. Then, we moved to this house that I loved.

    When the tornado tore up our town in 2011, three trees were thrown into the house, one tree into each of my children's bedrooms. There is no way they would have lived if they had been in that house. The third tree took out our bedroom.

    I could see from the road where my son's bed stood and where a huge tree had gouged a hole into the hallway, smashing where his bed stood. The outside wall where the oldest daughter had her bed was gone, and that tree fell where the baby bed was. The outside wall at the head of our bed was crushed.

    I was just devastated. Now that the house has been razed, I am so sad that it is gone. It seems I was a little more invested in that house after it was so easily ripped apart. There were three huge trees on the lot, and all fell down on the house. Even if only one tree had fallen on the house, it would have to be razed.

    Everytime I passed that house since I moved out 35 years ago, I had hated it. I pass by it about four times a week. It is four blocks from this house, so it is not hard to pass by accidentally. Now, I mourn for the house and trees.

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    1. That is so interesting (and terrible!). I always had a rather irrational fear of tornadoes (irrational in that its not as if I live where they are terribly common or anything).

      And this really goes to show how we tend not to appreciate something until its gone.

      Oh, and when we'd visit the town where my dad grew up he'd point out this house and tell us a story about how his family moved out of that house a week or so before an explosion of the furnace which was right near or possibly in his bedroom. It always made me think how crazy life is. If they'd moved a week later it all could have been different and I could not exist! Crazy!

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