August 22, 2006

The Old Home

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!

6 comments:

Kristine said...

My mom moved from my childhood home 4 years ago, and when I drove by the house last year, it was very sad. I understand what you mean by it's better to have the house demolished rather than filled with someone else and their things. Wish your family good luck with their new home.

Adrienne said...

Man, I'm actually kinda sad that they're demolishing the house on Crescent. I have a lot of happy memories at that house, especially seeing how many people we could cram on the hammock (I think the max I was ever involved in was 4- you, me, Amber and Carmen.) Sarah, you have to remember, for those of us without siblings who grew up in a little 2 bedroom cottage, your house was MAGIC. Your mom would feed us and we'd play with the dog and marvel at how much food was in that freezer of yours. And you had a sauna, in which you tried to steam me to death ATLEAST a half a dozen times.

::sniff:: I'm getting all nostalgic.

if you mix the letters, it's aangle said...

you tried to steam your friends to death? wow that doesn't sound like you at all . . . just kidding. :)

Adrienne Evans said...

OH yeah. She'd get this maniacal glint in her eye and let fly the words "Hey! Let's go get in the sauna!" This was usually post-pool, so the slightly chilled, unsuspecting friend thinks "awesome!" No. Not awesome. Hot. Surface of the sun, hot. And she'd crank that baby to 11 and keep dumping on the water, gleefully squealing "HOT!! HOTTTTTERR! MORE STEAM!" Meanwhile, I don't want to look like a weenie, but I'm pretty sure I can feel the proteins of my eyeballs denaturing.

The Editor said...

Now now, dears. We aren't exactly sure that the old house will be demo'ed though it makes for a great blog topic. If it were to be demolished, why would I have received a call today informing me that an appraiser and an architect of all people, would be coming through to check it out tomorrow? Why would I have found a checklist of fixup tasks for each room left behind on a counter after the last time the buyer came through? Could it be that they don't know about the raccoon family in the chimney, the giant rats in the workshed, or the persisent leaks in that lovely copper roof outside Sarah's old room? Well, hush, then my babies. We won't tell...

Funny thing, we have our own leaks here at the Princeton house, but we are already totally smitten and happy in our new abode...

Sarah said...

Well so much for my post. Thanks a lot, ed!