Until I got to college, I never experienced what it was like to move. I lived in one house from the time I was born until the day I left for college, and my parents continued living there until their divorce eight years ago. My Dad lived there for a few years on his own before meeting Barb in 2006 and marrying her in 2008. Due to the crappy housing market, he had a heck of a time selling it and it took nearly four years and a lot of updates before he finally sold it very recently. The closing date is this month and then the house I’ve known for nearly 31 years officially won’t belong to our family anymore.
I’m not sad or even that nostalgic about it, really – I’m just happy and relieved for my dad that he can finally move on from it. But I knew I wanted to see it one last time, and I thought it’d be neat to have my boys out there where I spent my childhood. Henry had been there once as a baby but Ben had never been there. We went a few weekends ago and we walked around and said good-bye, and I took a lot of photos.
My mom has tons of photo albums from our years growing up, but my collection of really old photos is pretty limited. I did find a few that I thought I’d post for comparison’s sake – the place sure has changed over 30+ years!
I had a really wonderful childhood, and I always loved our house. It wasn’t huge as far as the number of rooms goes – my brothers always had to share a bedroom, and until we remodeled the basement when I was in high school, we all shared one bathroom – but it was big as far as the size of those rooms, and I loved that it all connected rather than being sectioned off, so we could run around in circles to our hearts’ content.
Memories ran through my head as we walked around the house and yard, memories of playing outside in the back yard and in the woods and down by the creek. Playing on the swing set and in our sandbox. Playing catch and digging in the dirt. I spent endless, endless hours outside. ‘Rock factory’ under the back deck. Running around the house and making up games like the heater game and ‘apartment’ and the boom game with my brothers. Dad’s music always playing on the stereo in the living room – lots of Beatles and Moody Blues and Phil Collins. Holidays, birthday parties, slumber parties. Christmas mornings. Countless family dinners in the dining room. Roller skating in the basement before it was finished off and carpeted. Going on my first dates, to my first dances, taking pictures on the front porch and in the yard. Spending time with family members who are now passed away. Getting our dog, Kelly. Sleeping on my parents’ floor when I was scared. Writing the names of all the boys I kissed on my closet wall and then giving up after awhile. (ha) Bike rides down our quiet road. Basketball and Big Wheels in the driveway. Our little pool when we were little and our big trampoline when we were bigger. Raking and burning leaves in the front yard with Dad.
I could go on and on and on, obviously. Eighteen years of life there and then some. I get sentimental thinking about how I lived with my brothers day in and day out back then and totally took it for granted, not realizing then that someday we’d only see each other a few times a year.
I’ll always love that house but I’m not sad to part ways with it. I parted ways with it many years ago when I set out to make a life of my own as an adult, and ‘home’ to me is obviously now the one I share with Dave and our boys. And as I said, I’m just so glad for my dad that he can really start fresh now. I have all those cherished memories and plenty of photos to document our years there. Now I hope the new family moving in will love it like we did and make plenty of new happy memories there. I’m happy for the house, too, to be getting a new family!
I’m grateful I was able to bring my own kids to the house where I grew up, and it was really neat having them out there, just picturing young me running around in the very rooms they were now running (or crawling) through.
Some pics …
The house in 1979 when my parents bought it
Kitchen / dining room circa 1990
Same spot 2012
Front door circa 1985
Same spot 2012 – Do we look alike?
A few old pics I could find … Kelly / giving daddy a card, 1983 / new Caboodle … 1991? / my first ‘big girl’ room / lunch on the back deck, 1984
And some new ones … me and my boys in front of the woods in our back yard / fam on the rock / our road / one of many stickers still stuck in my bedroom closet
And a new favorite picture of Ben that I snapped that day just before we left