Friday, July 6, 2012

Sometimes You Really Can't Go Home Again

So I've decided recently that there are two kinds of people in the world. Those who enjoy going back and revisiting the places they used to call home, and those for whom the prospect holds no appeal.

Sometimes it depends on the house or home in question, I guess. Or how you felt about the time you spent there. As a child, I remember my mother taking me to see the house where she grew up--she seemed fine with the idea then, but now she doesn't even want to see pictures of what's been done to the house where I grew up even though it was her home for thirty years.

As I mentioned last month, I took a trip back East recently to visit my parents. They're no longer living in my old hometown, or even in the same state actually, but it was still close enough to get me thinking about the whole idea of going home. And, since I do most of my thinking online these days, that led me to zillow to check out the house where I spent my entire childhood.

It was a disturbing experience.

From the outside, the house looked much the same. At least from the front.

In the backyard, I suspect that the new owners (damn them) might have cut down a couple of trees I'd transplanted from the vacant lot next door. Yes, I've harbored arborist tendencies from an early age.

The big changes were on the inside, however. That's where it really looked all wrong.

This is the kitchen, for example. And, yes, that does appear to be a crystal chandelier hanging over the table.

Why anyone thought that was a good idea is beyond me. In my mind, this is what it should look like:

Those are my brothers, by the way, a very long time ago. I do think it's a little strange that the chair backs are almost the same, though. Plus ca changeplus c'est la meme chose, I guess.

Then there's the living room...

Am I the only one wondering, "What's with all the stuffy Victorian furniture?"  This is a solidly mid-century house, in case the exterior hadn't made that abundantly clear. That'd be the mid Twentieth Century, in case you were wondering. 

Anyway, here's how I remember it looking, back in the day:

It was a lot more casual and a lot more homey. Or is that just how it seems to me? That's me on the left (in case you were curious) with my baby brother.

Another thing I've realized recently is the fact that the idea of "homecoming" has been a major theme in a lot of my books. From Scent of the Roses to This Winter Heart, a fair number of my heroines (not to mention a few heroes and even a villain or two) have either journeyed home or spent a good deal of their story revisiting events in their past.

What about you? Where's home for you? Is it where you live now, or someplace from your past? Do you go there still, or is that something you find too painful?

By the way, that last picture reminds me that there's still time to win a copy of A Clockwork Christmas courtesy of my Aussie Antho Sister, Jenny Schwartz. If you're interested, details can be found HERE.


A. Catherine Noon said...

I don't know that I'd want to go to the places where I lived during high school. It was a small, bigoted town in a rural area and I loathed being there. On the other hand, seeing the buildings themselves would be fascinating and I'd love to show my husband the places that I lived.

I'm sorry they cut down your trees! That's always hard, seeing what new folks do with things we still feel an attachment for. ~hugs~

Kelly Jamieson said...

Love those family pics PG! I would LOVE to go back to the house I grew up in and snoop around! I have such crystal clear memories of it, even though it was a long time ago.

Kinsey Holley said...

I've gone back to the house I was born in, and to the house I lived in when I was in high school in Louisiana - there were houses in between, but those two were the most important in my memory. And in both cases, all i thought was - God, they were so SMALL! I didn't ask to go into either one - we moved houses a bunch when i was young so no house really has a hold on me - so I didn't need to go inside.

I think it will be different for Diva. We've been in this house since before she was born, and she's 10, and it will take take something awful and unforeseen to make us leave. So, this will likely be the home of her memory.

A few years back, my great aunt Mollye's kids all came down to Texas, and we met them in Beaumont (the town I was born in) and did a tour of all the houses and places that were important to Mollye (I adored her.) It was an interesting and affecting tour for a lady in her late 80s. She passed away recently at 92 or thereabouts, and I'm glad she had the opportunity to revisit the sites of her youth.