The children are constantly asking me where I lived when I was a child, where I went to school, who I lived with and all those questions that young inquisitive minds want answers to. It’s easier for Hubby – he grew up in the house his parents still live in, a house we visit all the time. He went to school where our nephew now goes to school and we are always walking the footsteps of Hubby’s childhood and teenage years.
But, it’s different for me. I grew up miles from where we live – about an hours drive – and I have no connection to that area anymore, no reason to visit and no reason to really take the children there.
But, last weekend we drove to see family who live closer to where I grew up and on the way home I decided to do a detour, to show the children those places they had asked me about so often and to drive around areas that had become nothing more than a memory, places I hadn’t seen in so many years.
We drove to my childhood family home, a home that I had spent my whole life in up until I got kicked out of home just after my seventeenth birthday. It was a happy home through childhood, in a safe cul-de-sac where I could roller skate, ride my bike and play with my friends. It was a house that was full at Christmas, where we had barbecues and fireworks, where I grew up, had sleepovers and play dates. It’s a house that holds so many memories for me and a house I hadn’t seen in over ten years.
But, seeing that house, so uncared for and unloved compared to how it had once been – with overgrown lawns, overgrown hedges and recycling boxes just discarded in the front garden, made me feel a pang of sadness. It was so far from the well looked after home of my younger years, with box hedges and flower borders, weeded so regularly. The only things that remained the same were the metal front gate and the colour of the front door, with the house now someone else’s home.
I drove away, knowing that will be the last time I see that house, the home from my memories is just that, a memory that doesn’t exist anymore. So we drove back, past the car park where I learnt to ride my bike, past the corner shop where I used to buy stickers, magazines and penny sweets. It was all so familiar and yet so different. Then I drove the children to the house that I lived in for a few years after my family home.
That house had got prettier, with a newly painted door and fences, flowers everywhere and such a homely feel to it. It is another house that holds so many memories but it didn’t bring me any sadness like the other had – it was where I lived when I met Hubby and so that could never be a negative thing.
The children loved our walk down memory lane and I told them all the positive things, pointing our my old library, fire station and where their uncle went to school. I noticed so many changes – road layouts that were different to how I remembered, shops that had changed hands so many times and police stations that apparently hadn’t been used for that purpose for years. So much had changed and yet it was all so familiar and I drove down the streets with sepia tinted film in my mind, walking the same path as the teenager from my past.
I found it cathartic to see the places from my childhood again, to revisit those streets that I hadn’t walked down for over a decade and it taught the children a little more about me at the same time. I feel like I have a sense of closure now, knowing that all those places I remember have moved on too, they are not the same places and I don’t need them to be. I drove the children back to our home and was thankful for the life we have together rather than nostalgic for the life of years gone by.
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