Monday, September 20, 2004

Good-Bye to 1834 S. Pearl St.

So I am sitting in what used to be my room on the last night I'll spend at the house I grew up in. It wasn't supposed to happen quite so quickly, but it did and now I have to deal with it. My parents' divorce is final, and the house will be sold as of Friday.

I haven't really been back here more than once or twice a year since I moved out at age eighteen. At the time, I couldn't wait to leave. I didn't want to live with my family, and I didn't want to live in this small town. A month after I left, my room became an office. It's been a while now, and it is easy to get nostalgic for the people and places. I walked the dog across the street to the park where I spent my summers, and looked for evidence of the carvings we made in a tree before my mom told us it would kill the tree (it didn't). The tree had grown so high I couldn't see if they were there anymore or not. I ran into neighbors whose daughter was my brother's best friend. The mother came to coo over Peanut. The father has leukemia, and I only recognized him because of the dog he was walking, he's gotten so skinny and gray. I also saw the woman who was my best friend from the time we moved into the house when I was two until junior high, which is where everything changes anyway. She has a son, five months older than Peanut, who looks just like her. She, by the way, is a stick. I thought you were supposed to get fatter after high school, not skinnier? No one informed me of this rule change.

My room has a gray carpet and walls so pale pink they are almost white. This was my choice, after I was told I couldn't paint the walls black because it would hurt the resale value. Fifteen years later, the new owner, a single woman, plans to change everything anyway. She is either covering or filling in the pool (why buy a house with a pool and then demolish it?), ripping out all the landscaping (actually a good thing - my parents weren't big on yardwork and it shows), and completely redecorating. It isn't that I'm so attached to the decorating, I guess. It is that it seems like my history will be obliviated somehow. It bothers me enormously that Peanut won't get to see the house I came from, or sleep in the room I slept in. I know many people don't get to do this, so I'm not quite sure why I wanted it for her so very much. Maybe it is all the changes in my family that I never would have expected ten years ago. All but one of my grandparents have died since I was eighteen. My parents separated and then divorced after thirty-plus years of marriage. I got married, had a baby, bought a house ( the last two in the last year). My remaining grandfather is going to be going into an assisted-living facility soon, and his house will be sold too, the house where I took my first steps. Maybe if I was still living in this town, it wouldn't be a big deal, but I don't. My mother is moving to the city where I live now, and my father won't be staying too long in my hometown either. I will have no reason to be here anymore.

Most kids nowadays don't live in the same place their whole lives, with their parents working at the same jobs. They don't get to play across the street from their houses while still in kindergarten with their mothers still inside the house, checking periodically while doing dishes. They don't go to school with the same kids from pre-school to high-school graduation. Seeing my house go I think is a reminder that Peanut won't get to experience what I think were some of the best parts of my childhood. She'll get different ones, ones that I hope she'll one day be nostalgic about too.

One of the frequent commentors here (if you can call any of them frequent), is Carlos, who also grew up in my hometown, though his memories are not so fond. I think, though, that it won't matter when his old home is gone too. It somehow makes me feel more like an *adult* then even having a child did. In many ways, my childhood will be gone in a few days in a way it never was as long as I could come home.

It's a good house. It had its leaks, but it is a wonderful Home.

1 comment:

Amy said...

I can't imangine my childhood home being sold. My mom still lives in the house and has no desires of selling it. My mom is going through something like what you are going through. Her childhood home is being sold. Where my mom grew up is only 3 houses down from where she lives now. Her childhood home was built by her father and her home she lives in now was built by my father and grandfather. The childhood home is currently being lived in by her BIL. {My mom's sisters, my aunt, died in the early 70s.} It really hasn't been her house in a long time, but she really hates to see it leave the family since her dad did build it. If my mom ever decides to sell her house, I hope that someone in my family is able to buy it. I would hate to see all of our memories go like that, too.