Monday, January 31, 2011
Can you go home again?
We left that house in the Winter of 1969 when my parents divorced, so I lived there from three years old until I was eight years old. I have some great memories of the place but also some unpleasant ones as the deterioriation of my parents' marriage is inextricably entwined with that home.
The other day, about 41 years after I last set foot in the place, my mother arranged for me to visit the house. I did so out of curiosity, and it was surreal.
Of course, it was MUCH smaller than I remembered. Even now looking at old faded photos taken in the house, it seems bigger than it did when I walked in last weekend. The other thing that struck me is how much had NOT changed.
When I buy a house, I have always wanted to change it. The owners of our old house seem to enjoy the early 1960's decor because, with the exception of some new kitchen counter laminate, NOTHING has changed at all other than a couple of wall colors.
The major change, other than the view out the back windows which no longer overlook an expanse of fields and sage brush to the canyon but rather huge houses and fences, is that I felt suddenly sad yet happy at the same time.
Certainly, there are great memories:
My brother Dan running from the front door when we arrived that hot August day in 1964. He scooped me up in his arms and ran into the back yard where we picked a carrot out of the garden.
Playing in the sand box made from a tractor tire.
Watching my brothers' band practice on the patio.
But, the other memories of the final Christmas when my dad drove away make that house a place of pain for me.
When I drove back to 2109 11th Avenue East where I moved on February 28, 1970, when my mom married my step-father Karl, I walked in, hugged Karl, and said, "Karl. That place means nothing to me. THIS will always be my childhood home." Proof that home is where a kid feels secure.