Thursday, July 7, 2016

Leaving the Old Family House


This is the house I grew up in. It was built in 1955, a very typical one-story L-shaped ranch house in a new development in which the heavy forest and much of a hill had been completely removed. The houses had little bushes in front and some saplings planted on the lawns near the street. The large "picture window" at right was in my father's studio along with his piano and music-writing desk. The door to the house is at the corner of the L.

There is a kid standing next to a spindly little willow tree. That is me, aged about 3 years old. You can't see me very well but I'm there. I remember that the willow grew big and gnarly, and then perished for lack of space and water. 

My parents lived in this house for 60 years. They didn't take much care of it, except building a large music and social room with lots of windows. By the time I inherited it, the house needed so many upgrades and renovations that it would not be economically feasible to do all the work, unless the buyer was a mid-century-modern fanatic, which they weren't.The house was also infested with animal and insect pests.

Now the landscaping has taken over the house and hides it completely from the street. The back yard and sides are abandoned. The small trees have grown into major street titans. The people who bought this house are developers. They will demolish the old house and probably excavate a lot of the landscaping, too. Then they will build a new up-to-date boring home and sell it for big bucks. The neighborhood is very desirable and they will no doubt find a buyer.

I don't mind destroying the old house. So many memories are encoded into those pale yellow shingles and mid-century interior that I will be happy to say goodbye. I would never choose to live there. I took what I wanted of the hoarded items and historic artifacts, and after my upcoming visit, I'll walk away, I hope, to something new and fresh.

Photo taken in about 1958. Minimal blogging, if any, until I return to winey Virginia.

2 comments:

Hodr's Apprentice said...

Sharon (JastaElf) here. You've had one hell of a couple years, Pyra, and I want you to know how much I admire how you've handled it all. There is amazing strength in you, and I am so proud of you. If you'd like to do some peaceful birding before you return to Virginia, come up to NH--I can send directions. The place will hopefully not be mine for too much longer. What is it with these last couple of years, with all the transitions! Hang in there.

Cara Spalla said...

Hi Pyra, It's Cara. Having shared some time with you as you carefully dismantled decades of dustballs and memories, I recognize the matter-of-factness in your blog, and as Sharon said, you're one helluva "handler". Birding? Sounds great - I hope you can make time for it! (I'll help you all I can.) See you soon... Cara