Thursday, June 27, 2013

Our Childhood Homes


I get nostalgic about the home I grew up in.  Do you?

My family lived in a small suburban house on Long Island, an hour east of New York.  My parents bought the house just as they started having kids and our neighborhood was full of families with small children.  My brother and I grew up on a block with other kids on it.

I pass by that house occasionally now; it's only a few miles from where I live.  Whenever I go down the street of my youth, I'm flooded with memories of riding my bicycle, of our old neighbors and of local sights.  For example, my mother etched the growing heights my brother and I reached on our bedroom doorframes.  Our house had tiny cubbyholes my brother and I would play and hide in.  The view from my second-floor window surveyed a wide swath of the neighborhood.

Looking at the house now, my mood turns melancholic.  I instantly realize the major changes time has wrought.  Half of my family passed away in 1990-1991 and my sole remaining relative (my dad) is far away in Florida.

Childhood always affects us deeply.  Growing up, I thought this house was the universe -- big and comfortable.  So it was unexpected when I returned home from college and found it small and grimy.  Of course the neighborhood hadn't changed; my perspective had.  The grandeur I'd seen in my home vanished after I saw more of the world.

Do you remember your childhood home?  What was it like?  Big or small?  Comfy?  Full of life or quiet?


 
 

 
 

16 comments:

  1. What a beautiful, touching post and an eloquent peek into your childhood home. The house I miss is the cottage my maternal grandparents rented for almost 60 years. It was white with green trim, had two bedrooms, and was where my mom and her 4 brothers grew up. My sister and I and our cousin grew up there, too. We spent every summer there, riding our bikes in the driveway and using our imaginations while we played in the back bedroom. Looking back I realize what a modest house it was, but to a child, it was a palace! :)

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  2. I like that you remember so much about your childhood. I think despite your struggles I admire how you talk about your family, I see how much you loved them, even when it was hard to gain their acceptance of yourself.

    My own childhood was very empty of other children. My brother moved back with his birth mom (my mom is his stepmom) when I was reaching 4. I lived in a couple of different apartments in a small town that started booming in the dotcom rush. My dad worked in one of those companies that eventually folded and went under.

    I remember being really little, living where kids were, then slowly kids with families were replaced by lone businessmen, then later "working class" men. I'm not sure what my old town looks like, I haven't been back since I saw my childhood best friend for the last time (I must have been 12 or 13). So a decade! Supposedly my old apartments are still there, According to google maps anyway.

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    1. Re: Google maps - I did get to 'show' my husband where I grew up by doing that!

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  3. I loved my childhood home--- had a basement that could basically be a mother-in-law suite. No basements here in Florida :(

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  4. Lovely post.

    Ahhhh childhood home, or in my case homes - 12 of them before I got my own place thanks to moving around the UK for my mum and dad's work. But I remember all of them (well, after I was about 3/4 anyway!) and they all have special memories for me. One day I will revisit them all and take photos of the front doors. I feel a motorcycle trip coming on!

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  5. I had a few childhood homes in different towns, and have pretty much come full circle and now live about 15 miles from the first home I remember. That was weird at first, and everything looks so small now, but it was a great place for kids, with an attic to play in and lots of outdoor space. It's fun walking past my best friend's house in that town - she had great toys, and I loved playing at her house.

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  6. great memories
    http://loving-evelyn.blogspot.ro/

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  7. Sadly I live down the road from my old house and I have to pass it several times a day to get anywhere. I say sadly because they have torn down the garden and the roses my dad cultivated (and he's out of the picture) and made it ugly and built up. To see them butcher the house at first saddened me but now I have to turn away or walk straight past it without looking

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  8. These are great pictures! I love the plaid blazer in the second one :)

    I haven't been to the place where I grew up in about 20 years. We lived on a little farm. Some of my favorite memories took place there. Your lucky to be able to visit your old home so frequently...or more frequently than most of us.

    xo

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  9. Oh Ally, this makes me nostalgic too.
    I always think that my best years were when I was a small child living in my grandparents home. It was an apartment built in the 40's that was torn down about 15 years ago.
    I remember driving by when it was being hit by that huge demolition ball, i parked my car and cried. The home i grew up in still comes to me in dreams. I love it when I wake up and remember all the details i thought i had forgotten: the hand painted floors, the french window pane doors, the crystal door knobs, the high ceilings.... my neighbors, my childhood friends, my neighborhood.
    Just last week one of my neighbors passed away, she was 92 and I got to see a lot of the older neighbors. It was a like traveling back in time.
    I still live in the same neighborhood i grew up in. I grew up in the 52nd street and live on the 48th but work in the 52nd. In fact my office is in a corner directly on top of where i waited for the school bus ....

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  10. I love these photos!! I always love looking back at these kind of time pieces, so interesting. My mom and dad built the house we grew up in and my mom still lives there (my dad passed away years ago). She swears she will never leave that place. Its a nice big house on 2 acres of forested land and really beautiful location by a lake, away from it all. Our playground was the forest and I LOVED IT. I always wanted to be a forest ranger when I grew up. Until of course I found out about all the cut backs and hard to survive on wages they got paid.. like a starving artist :( ho hum.
    J

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  11. So beautifully written. I can feel your emotion in this post. They say you can never go back home and I believe that. I have a lot of nostalgia for my childhood home, my parents still live there but have it on the market now. When I go back, it's just not the same. The time of innocence when everyone played outside and the neighborhood was clean and beautiful is gone. It's run down now and a much different place. But the memories are what's most important, they will always be the same.

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  12. Oh this is so lovely! I love the old pictures, they're so full of memories. It's funny I don't have a lot of nostalgia attached to my homes but maybe that's because we moved around!
    xo
    styleontheside.com

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  13. Great post!!! Love the photos you shared.

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  14. This is a subject (childhood) homes (and by extension, hometowns) that I've thought about often. My family lived in a few different houses (and towns) when I was growing up, and I've never felt like I truly had one home that was my definitive childhood home as a result. There are two though that come relatively close, and both hold a tremendous amount of mixed memories for me. Ultimately I try to focus on the positives and have gotten nostalgic for both (especially the earlier of the two) on various occasions, but ultimately I don't think I'll ever pine for either in the way one might if they'd had a more idyllic youth.

    ♥ Jessica

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  15. Thanks for sharing your pictures and heart!
    I grew up in a neighborhood similar to you--in a PINK house no less. I get such a feeling of melancholy going back.

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