No, that's not our house in the background. That was an old series of sheds with a little workshop and an old well built onto the side. I really love this shot because it shows how things started there. My parents moved there because my grandparents lived next door and my grandfather, a wheeler-dealer thought that it was a steal of a deal. When we moved in, there were old sheds and the leaves hadn't been raked in so long that they were knee deep and rotting. The yard was absolutely huge and perfect for kids. My parents worked on that yard for at least twenty years and in the end, it was a beautiful place with tons of flowerbeds, seating areas and a goldfish pond. And actual lush grass which is hard to believe from this photo.
There's so much about this shot that moves my heart. That's my Dad and me on the swings. I'd love to know what we were talking about. And there is our little dog, Oscar and most likely one of her pups nipping at our legs. In the background, you can see my brother wearing his Batman cape made out of a blue bath towel!
In the first photo, that board over the shed door is because that spot was our home base when we played baseball and the missed throws were completely tearing the door in. There's a door behind the tree that you can't see. That was briefly my playhouse but being a kid who was always scared of spiders, it didn't last long. Eventually, my Grandfather made me a heck of a deal one day where he'd rent it from me for three bucks a month. He needed extra storage for his yard sale stock. He'd have yard sales constantly and even let people buy things on credit! It's kind of funny to think that my parents let me make money off of that little room in the shed but I remember being super excited when my Grandfather gave me that three bucks a month. He did it until I was eighteen and moved out. Ironically, I think that most of that money went towards buying things at my grandfather's yard sales. When younger, I'd buy every cat knick-knack that he came home with and later on, I bought housewares to stock my hope chest. Yes, hope chest! Ha! During the later days, my Grandfather gave me the cat knick-knacks for free.
Today, my Dad sent an email to my brother, Mom and me that let us know that the old place is up for sale. I lived in that house for thirteen years and it was in the family for over twenty five. He told us that the yard was a real mess and had gone back downhill. I knew that I shouldn't have but I looked up the real estate listing online and saw photos of the exterior and interior. I'm still dealing with what I saw. Sometimes, it's better to see things through the intoxication of memories and not know the truth.
Gone is the huge Cedar tree that nestled against the house. And the porch swing where I did my first bit of courting. Gone too are the grassy green yard and flowerbeds and planters that my Mom meticulously tended to. The once manicured goldfish pond that my parents took such pride in is now a pool of black sludge and overgrowth, the huge goldfish long gone. Next door, my Grandparents' beautiful ranch is lived in but not loved and would surely break their hearts. I guess it's true when they say that you can't go home again. What they don't mention is that you shouldn't even try.
Until next time,
x's and o's,
What a sweet post! I still remember moving across town when I was 6 years old and even though the house that I moved from was foggy in my memory at best, I retreated to whatever I could muster from that hazy landscape on occasion and begged my mom to drive past the place.
As years have gone on, I have felt nostalgia and empathy for almost everything, not just old homesteads. It could be a place I've sat on campus, a spot on a country road that I recall letting my old dog Ozzie "do his business," or a booth in a restaurant.
It never gets easier living in a world full of places that remind me of how beautiful life was and still is.
That's beautiful. I heart you, boo.
I never really had a "family home" when I was growing up, as we moved around a lot. I guess I always thought of my Grams and Grandpas place as home base even though we did not always live close to them. I remember being devastated when they sold that house.....so many memories.
So sorry about your childhood home sweetie.
What a wonderful post. I too know the pain of "going back". You can't. My old house, which had zero plants and fences when we moved in, was a mecca when we left. Lovely deck and gazebo, brick walkways hand built by dad and my brothers, plants, everything.
They tore out the deck and put in grass. Plain grass. Tore out the gazebo, planted grass. Cut down the plants under the front window and replaced it with - a wagon wheel. Then they destroyed the inside.
I keep going back in my head - I can walk every room, see everything in the yard. I've never been back.
That pic of you as superheroes is so cute it made me grin. I hate to grin, but for you I'll make an exception.
Oh, this post just hurts a little to read- it's so bittersweet!
My grandfather passed away two weeks ago, and tomorrow I'm travelling to his empty house to visit it one last time (and dig for treasures to bring home) before it is listed for sale. At 32, this is the one place in my life that has remained virtually unchanged- it is almost exactly as it was in my childhood. So I've been thinking a lot lately about these memories, and how to preserve them, and how to let go of the physical place and really to say goodbye this weekend. It's bound to be a bit gut-wrenching (knowing also that the house will be sold for property value only, as it's somewhat dilapidated), but I'm actually looking forward to soaking it up one last time, having a good cry, and taking lots of photos.
(And okay, I'm admittedly excited to dig for treasures. I know there's a rainbow Pyrex bowl set there that's never seen a dishwasher, a box of vintage Christmas kitsch, and my Granny was in the habit of embroidering kittens onto tea towels. So it will be like the ultimate bittersweet, emotional, and well-documented *free* estate sale :)
My family has lived in the same house since I was born, they almost moved once but my brother and sister and I were so upset they decided not to. I would be so sad to see their house in a state of disrepair like that, I can't even imagine it.
This post gave me goose bumps. Every time i go back to Wichita, KS I drive by my childhood home. It looks smaller, our favorite tree is gone. But the good memories are always there. That swingset brings back tons of memories. Metal, and it would tip over if we got to swinging too high! Really love this post!
Awww! I guess you just have to be grateful that you have such happy memories of the place where you grew up. I love your description of that first photo - it really brings it all to life. And who knows? Maybe the next owners will love the place and make it lovely again, just like your mom and dad did.
Oh. What a shame about your old home, perhaps it will be bought by someone with vision like your mum and dad have, and they'll bring it back to its former glory. I feel like this about my Grandparents' old house, they'd been moved out and it was rented out a few years anyway (they were in an old people's home finally), but now my Grandfather has died it might be sold. It had such lovely feel about it, I'm sad to think that it must be changed from when I knew it and that my children will never know it.
I loved this post. I know what you mean,when I was a kid we were SURROUNDED bu huge woods,which was our own Middle Earth for me and all my Little Rascals pals. When I first came back and we went over there to the house I grew up in (which is now a rent house of my folks) I couldn't believe it. The whole forest was gone,replaced by McMasnions
Thank God for pics and memories,huh
Wow the difference in those photos... its so sad to think it now! I get caught up in this too...I get so attached to how things were, and it hurts so much when it changes... well, to be honest, it hurts more in a case like this, where the changes are quite negative! Im sure there must be a lot of cases where old family homes get torn down too... Im moving into my first house this summer and am already so attached I just can't imagine that...
Such a sweet post!I always hate to see places you knew/use to live in not taken care of as they once were.You can go back but you can't really go back.
That photo of you and your dad just gets me. I am continually surprised that the time of my childhood now falls within the realm of nostaglia. When the hell did that happen? I see anything from that time it seems and I am a big ball of bittersweet mush. I know just how you feel. My grandma's house was home base for all of my extended family. My cousins and I all knew that no matter how bad we screwed up, we always had a place to go. She had to move out of it when I was pregnant (nearly 15 years ago), and the last time I was in it I knew it would be the last time. My mom and I hugged each other on the sidewalk and just cried. I couldn't believe my babies wouldn't know her house. Last summer we were back in her town, and we drove by the old place. New owners had gutted the inside. Part of my insides felt gutted, but part of my insides were happy that the place was going to get a brand-new shot at being someone else's special place. I don't know that I'll ever go back now. It's like a sacred place to me--more than any church.
Oh sweetie. I'm sorry. When I was a little girl my parents lived in a little yellow brick ranch with a carport in South Missouri. They worked magic on that little place, fixing it up. A few years ago I looked for it on Google street view maps; the sweet gum tree outside my bedroom window had been cut down, the honeysuckle hedge was gone, the carport was nearly collapsing and the rest was all in weeds. I was sick at heart for days. Thank God we're allowed to keep our memories.
What a touching post. A few years ago, I had the chance to drive by the house where I lived from age 3 to age 13. It looked so small, and so shabby, and it made me sad. When I got home I dug out some old pictures of the house from when my family lived there, and guess what I realized? It had always been small and shabby. But I had never noticed because it was a house full of love and good times, and we lived in a neighborhood where just about everyone's house was small and shabby. We had what we needed, and a lot of people can't say that.
LOOK at those azeleas your mama and dad had going.
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