I lived in the same town, in the same house all my life. It wasn’t until I went to college that I moved for the first time. Granted, I came home almost every weekend–Mr. Gray was a senior and playing tons of sports for me to come home and watch. So, I still came home to my house, my room, my memories.
About four years ago, my parents sold our house. I wasn’t there when it was empty or packed up–that would’ve been way too hard on me. I was married, so I already had another home, but I just couldn’t imagine remembering our house any way but the way it had been all my life. The family who bought our house also bought the neighbor’s house. The parents (grandparents) were going to live in the neighboring home and the children & their new family would live in our home. I never met them, but my parents say they seemed nice enough
, and not at all what one could call trashy.
Both homes are historic homes–ours was built in 1918, and the neighbor’s prior to that. Both homes were built and occupied by family members of mine. Living in an old home is costly, so our house wasn’t always in tip-top shape, but it always looked nice and had a well kept yard. It had been painted and re-done in recent years before we sold it.
After my parents sold it, the families who bought both houses started to accumulate trash, car, playscapes, trampolines, and who knows what else in the yards. Both homes sit on over a lot each, so they take up the whole side of the block. Rather than being a home on each corner with nice yards in between, now there are still homes on each corner, but there is trash in between. The family who now occupies our home parks cars on the front sidewalk. The pen that housed our dog in the backyard is filled with trash and scrap lumber. They put an aluminum garage door circa 1995 on the 1918-style garage. When they gutted the kitchen a while back, they just piled up the remnants in the backyard. Trash just sat there. For months. They have cut down or killed almost all of the huge pecan trees that were in the yard. The Magnolia appears to be dead. It breaks my heart each time I drive by, but I can’t help myself. I keep driving by in hopes that they have fixed it; that the trash is part of their renovation and they’ll clean it up.
That house was built for my great great grandfather, and then I was raised in it. It has a piece of my heart. I know it’s just a house, but it houses so many memories, so many fun times, so much of my childhood and beyond.
When the song The House that Built Me was released, I cried buckets. I still can’t listen to it. I know I can never go back in our home because it will break my heart. Just from what I see through the windows, I know too much has changed. I am so grateful I have a home now to share with Mr. Gray and Baby Gray, and I have my childhood memories safely housed in my brain. Once, though, just once, I’d like to have a moment with my house. The way it used to be.