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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