My parents are moving to a new house in a few weeks. The house we've lived in for fourteen years has precious few days left until it is leveled to make way for a newer, bigger home. It isn't even a question in that city what the fate of old houses will be. They are all leveled and forgotten.
I spent 5 years living in that house as a teenager and have returned to it on many happy occasions. You'd think I'd have some sentimental attachment to it or sadness at its imminent doom. But I'm excited for it to be gone. I've always had a purging instinct and fear I burn more bridges than I build. Something about the idea of "you can't go back" gives me the motivation to go forward.
Besides, destroying the old house is a lot more palatable than having someone else move in, repaint, remodel and remove every trace of our family. I remember visiting my childhood home in Connecticut that had been totally revamped by the new inhabitants. It was like visiting an old friend whos memory had been wiped and had no clue who I was. Very depressing. It would almost be better for that house to just be gone so my precious memories of growing up there wouldn't be confused with strange new realities.
Demolition may seem small thanks to a home that provided so many wonderful memories for our family, but I look at it like the Hindi sati ritual. The house is of little to no worth without us inside. Once we're gone, our old home with its leaky ceilings, broken toilets and rodent infested walls will only be a burden to whoever comes next. Better to just get rid of it.
I'll miss the cramped broom closet under the stairs where I found the peace to read scores of books amidst the roiling of a family of eleven. The arching Bradford Pear tree outside my bedroom window that encouraged many a slip into the night may or may not be spared by the demolition. I will miss the brickwall of the garage covered with a fascinating living wallpaper of lush ivy and geckos that I'd watch for hours from the hammock. But life is linear and so my parents have moved on. Anyways, the new house will eventually become the old house with flaws and frustrations of its own.
And so I bid a fond farewell to the home. You were swell. In return, you'll be razed and carted away in pyre-like trucks to your immortal destiny. Bon Voyage!