This is something most of us never want to see. And yet, I think many of us do go through it. Our childhood home, boarded up, neglected, sporting a No Trespassing sign. I know this is a food blog, but as I’ve mentioned before, I grew up foodie, and this is where my foodie roots are. Were.
After a rough couple of weeks, I decided, as I always seem to when things are crazy, to drive by my childhood home. It has always been my safe place. This time, however, gave me mixed feelings at best.
The house is nestled in a little valley with a creek nearby. I decided to walk up the hill and ask the only neighbor left in the area what was going on. The news wasn’t great. The elderly couple who had lived in it, lost it. It was then sold at a sheriff’s sale… and (allegedly) used as a meth lab. I felt violated.
I walked around with my 10 year old daughter, showing her this and that. We ran across the pump that used to reside on the well we used. “This is where I poured soap bubbles down the well, because I thought they would come out of the faucet inside the house. They did. Yes, I got in trouble. I always did think I was just a misunderstood genius.”
We walked around the pasture, looking into the creek that was now running very slowly because people dump things into it. Old wood, concrete, etc. It’s difficult to answer a 10-year-old when they ask, “Why do people do this? Why doesn’t somebody clean it up?”
In all fairness, my understanding is that the current owner is doing his very best to clean up, but keeps getting stalled by MORE people dumping MORE “stuff” onto his land. Anyway. We kept walking, I kept pointing things out.
“There’s the wild asparagus patch. Grandma and I would come up here every spring and pick asparagus.”
“That’s the attic. Only accessible by ladder. I imagine there are still undiscovered treasures up there.”
All the lilac and bridal wreath bushes are gone. The peonies, the bleeding hearts, Virginia bluebells, lily of the valley, daylilies… everything that every old-fashioned garden used to have. But! What is still there are the happy memories. Stirring pudding for Grandma. Watching her make an apple pie. I’ve never had its equal. Watching Captain Kangaroo. Playing outside… which I was expected to do. Meeting my life-long friend, Leisa. Going everywhere with my dog, Boots. Putting out sugar cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve. I could go on forever.
I know deep in my heart that my old home won’t be there forever. At least not in its physical form. But the idyllic childhood I lived there, and all the memories that go with it, will be with me.