Stomping Grounds: Revisiting Your Childhood Home

Stomping Grounds: Revisiting Your Childhood Home

Grace Shu
Nov 8, 2007

Our house, in the middle of the street. Have you ever gone back to your childhood home--especially one that you haven't lived in a decade or more? I did. For the first time in about seven years, I took a trip back to Virginia and one of my top priorities was to drive by my old house, snap a photo (pictured here), and then go out for a drink and have a good laugh over it. Instead, I found myself standing on the porch with my finger pressing the doorbell.

I really expected time to stand still, or at least fall back to older memories, etc etc, with like, say, Cindy Lauper's "Time After Time" crooning softly in the background. But no, it didn't work like that: you see, it was inevitable that the house would be remodeled, upgraded, and polished. The kitchen was completely made over, the bathrooms gutted, the utility room removed completely to expand the den...those bits were good. The bad? Our beautiful slate floors and replaced with carpet (yes, we had slate floors--an odd choice, but we loved it), and the double-height ceiling in the den was lowered, covering up the weight-bearing wood beams (which, by the way, was a huge selling point for me when I was house-hunting in California).

But perhaps what's really made the experience of revisiting my old home stew in my mind is that after we walked through and saw all the changes, I felt a bit funny: I was a stranger in my old home that had been remodeled away, covered over with bad low-pile carpet beyond the point of recognition. Afterwards, I showed the photos of the house to my mum who loved that house so much, and all she said was, "Well, at least we were the last ones to live in our house."

It sounded redundant, but it was a bit heartbreaking too.

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