My Old Houses (302nd new thing).
March 14, 2012 § 1 Comment
One of the activities that has been on my list since day one of this project was to visit the house I grew up in, from ages 3-11. It sits not too far from where I work and I wanted to see if the proportions were as spacious as I remember. I almost went once before, but the thought crossed my mind that knocking on a stranger’s door and asking to look around their house may not be the safest of plans. I envisioned myself wandering into some strange suburban drug lair and being sold into sexual slavery. I have a vivid imagination.
But on Day Three Hundred Two I pushed my fears to the back of my mind and drove the ten miles from work at three in the afternoon. I passed by my old elementary school with it’s barn-like gym still intact and all but missed the turn into my former neighborhood. As I drove with houses of past friends lining the streets I became nostalgic. That’s where Freddie with the pool and golf cart lived! That’s Celeste’s house! I got bit by a Rottweiler behind Andy Cochran’s house right there…
I spent so much time reminiscing that I nearly drove right by my former residence. To be fair, the road seems a lot shorter nearly twenty years later.
The house itself had the same coat of paint my parents had applied more than a decade earlier. The windows were all covered with a combination of curtains and black trash bags. A beat up old Chrysler sat in the driveway. In the back of my mind, I hoped no one would be home. I wouldn’t know how to introduce myself. “Hi, I’m Laura and my parents built this house more than twenty-five years ago. Can I invade your private space and look around?” My introduction did not sound good.
It turned out no one was actually home. Or at least they didn’t answer the door. But I had brought an old photograph of the house and climbed carefully on the lawn across the street to take a Dear Photograph inspired snapshot of the place.
After my unsuccessful attempt at peeking into the house on Creekwood Lane, I decided to drive across town and try out the house we lived in while I was in high school. And once again, no one answered the door.
However, this time I knew the neighbors. I walked next door to find Roberta at home. After a brief catch up we headed next door, so I could at least recreate some old pictures in the wide open backyard.
I enjoyed walking through this stranger’s back garden, noticing what they had changed. The trimmed a few trees and built a dock over the pond in back, but other than that, the backyard looked the same. I wish I could have seen inside the house. But then again, if someone knocked on my front door and asked to look around their former dwelling, I think I would kindly refuse them. I’ll just have to wait until the homes are for sale again, if ever.