Going Back to My Childhood Home

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Going Back to My Childhood Home

Tab: Family

Topic:  Remembrance, family, parents, children, house, childhood home,

It was a serendipity experience that enabled me to visit my childhood home.  It came about at a funeral of a gracious lady who employed me as a teenager, to be a nanny to her children, during the daytime in the summer.  At the funeral, I re-connected with Susie, Betsy, Charlie and Dede,who kept me busy in the summers of my 16th and 17th years.

They were special children and I loved them.  Their family was a prosperous one and mine was less prosperous but happy to be working, and we connected on an emotional level, and on occasion, Mother or I would bring  one or two home to stay overnight with our family.

My Mother was the children’s caregiver during the school year.  I was allowed to take her place during the summer, when she was busy at our own home canning fruits, jams, vegetables, dill pickles and raising raspberries in her garden.  We might think that this was boring, awful work, but to her it was a lifelong activity that ensured the next winter’s menu.  These days, it would be called ‘organic’. 

Our whole family loved the children and they loved us.  I made lunches, played with them, went for walks, did a little ironing, a little picking-up and some dishwashing.  Then I went back home – on two buses.

Now, fifty years later, the children’s Mother passed on and I happened to see her funeral notice.  I attended the service, thinking that the children would not remember me or realize that I was there.  Thank heavens, I was wrong, they were welcoming, gracious and kind, all grown up, with their own lives and families.  Betsy’s husband, Dave, is a real estate developer, who buys homes, renovates them and sells them to new families.

I mentioned that our family home had recently been foreclosed on and was for sale.  Dave asked for the address and brought it up on his cell phone.  He said that he had bid on it but lost it to another buyer.  About a month after the funeral, an email arrived and announced that he had purchased the house and it was going to be renovated, updated, and then sold.

When the house was ready to be shown, my brother and I were invited to see the updates.  The old neighborhood is still there, a little older, but intact.  There were signs of wear and updates on our old block.  Our house was newly painted with new windows, a new kitchen, and new doors.  A new mailbox and sidewalk completed the updated look. 

We sat in the kitchen around the new island/bar and reminisced about the house in the old days, even the basement and garage.  The grandchildren’s height (Susie, Betsy and our family, Ingrid, Billy, Sue and April) had been recorded on the doorway, vines had been grown over the porch (for shade) and really important sayings were taped onto the refrigerator.

My brother and I saw our bedrooms in the upper story, with the gabled ceilings.  They had seemed so large and now so small.  Dad’s workbench in the basement was still there, with his grinder still mounted on top of his workbench.  Mother’s famous stove was gone, although we had tried to replace it.  She was a dedicated user of ‘cooking with gas’ and when we tried to replace her ancient gas stove with a new one, she said the new one was not as good as the old one and we had to get the old one back.   The reason given to us was that the new burners had fewer holes in them to let the gas through, so heating anything was not as efficient.  What could we say?  The old stove came back.

Mom and Dad have passed on now, but little reminders remain in their old home and in our hearts and minds.   Now the house is ready for the next family to continue the cycle of their lives – with a little connection to ours….

Do you remember any stories about your family?  We would love to hear them, send them on!

Remember, It’s rChance to Live and Thrive, Every Day and in Every Way!

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