They say you can’t go home again, and I think they must be right. My dad lived in the house I grew up in till I was twenty, and I went back after he moved out once. Once was enough.
The people who bought my house after my dad moved out remodeled it extensively before selling it themselves. It was after this second sale that I returned – Miss Tadpole was selling Girl Scout cookies, so I took her through my old neighborhood to see how many of my old customers would buy from her.
It was incredibly surreal being the parent in this scenario. Miss Tadpole was woefully under-prepared when it came to her sales pitch, but I’d been so well-rehearsed at her age that it was easy for me to pick up the slack. We made a great team.
As we strolled through my old stomping grounds, I couldn’t help flashing back to my own time as a cookie seller. I tramped the streets with my mom, selling cookies from house to house as I made my way around the block. Miss Tadpole and I retraced my old route, and it wasn’t long before we reached my old house.
The new occupants took their time answering the door, which gave me a chance to peek in the window. They weren’t interested in buying any cookies, but I couldn’t leave without remarking on how different the inside of the house looked.
“I grew up here.”
“Yeah. It looks a lot different now, though.”
He opened the door a little wider. “Would you like to come in and look around?”
“Could I? That would be great!”
Miss Tadpole and I stepped inside. What used to be the dining room is now the living room. The former owners knocked out the wall between the kitchen and dining room, transforming the space into one big living room. The dining room is now in what used to be the living room; my parents’ bedroom is now the kitchen. I didn’t get to see upstairs, but I heard that the former owners removed the wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling closet that my grandpa built for me when I was little. I loved that closet – sure, it was just two-by-fours and wood paneling (oh-so-popular at the time, dontcha know), but there was a wicked cool window seat, too, and my grandpa built things to last.
Maybe it’s for the best that I didn’t go upstairs.
The new owner and I got to talking as I looked around; what started as curiosity ended with a cookie sale. Win-win! He seemed a nice enough chap, but evidently my old house just wasn’t for him. I heard recently that the house is sitting vacant; he and his family have moved out. And while I wouldn’t mind living there again, I know it’ll never happen. I married a country boy, and I would want to live in my home.
That house is no longer my home, and it never will be again, even if we did buy it. No matter how badly you might want to, you just can’t go home again.
What about you – have you ever revisited places you used to live? What was it like?
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14 thoughts on “Old home week”
I once passed the house in which I grew up. It was a strange and surreal experience, and one thing I did notice – it seemed a lot smaller than I remembered it.
Yes! The same thing happened to me. Well, the yard seemed much smaller – it used to seem huge when I was a kid, even after my dad built a garage. And the (old) living room seemed so tiny, but I remember it being a large room! Funny how inaccurate one’s memory can be.
I think it’s because we’ve bcome just a little jaded, and taller.
Perhaps. I’m definitely taller than I used to be. 😉
I was, but now I’m getting old and am beginning to shrink again.
For the most part the houses I’ve lived in appear the same. Trees are taller. Paint may be a different color, but they look the same. When I see the outside, I remember the interior as it was then. The shag carpet. Avocado appliances. Bright orange counters. Denim blue walls. Whatever stood out in that home and unique to the time.
The outside of the house is much the same, although half the trees are gone and there’s now an extra window and a new deck off the back of the house. I’m the same, though, in that I can remember everything as it used to be just by looking at it. 🙂
The house where I grew up was torn down the year I went to college. It’s been kind of odd not having a “house I grew up in” for my adult life.
Loved learning about your experience!
Aww, that’s sad! We’re moving into the fifth place my oldest son can say he grew up in. I think, though, he’ll think most of the house we’re leaving, the one we’re going to, and his dad’s when he thinks about where he grew up.
Sage words. And very true. I’ve had a similar experience. It’s… strange.
It really is, isn’t it? I occasionally step inside my ex-husband’s house when we exchange our son and it’s equally strange because it used to be my house, but now it’s so different. I think strange is the perfect way to describe it. 🙂
What an interesting experience! I can just picture your thoughts (“yes, it’s much nicer, but no, I don’t like it as much…”).
I really didn’t like anything they did, actually, but I think that’s because it was different – they switched all the rooms around, so it wasn’t the home that I knew anymore. Of course, I did find the new doorway interesting, but that’s because I only ever saw it as a shelf. Although, it was nicer not having the wood paneling ceiling tiles in the living room – dining room – whatever. 😀