Due to the lockdown, we are spending more time at home. But, hopefully this isn’t limiting our interest in photographing. This week, we invite you to share photos taken at home.
I am still getting used to “home” as it exists today. Although…after 3 years, I should be well on my way.
But when you’ve lived in one house for over 36 years – the greater part of your adult life – I’ve discovered it’s an ongoing adjustment after you pack up and downsize to a condo.
These long stretched out days…sitting at the kitchen table with my humongous mug of coffee every morning…I am comforted to notice bits from my old life still close by…
The vinyl records from way back (and that’s just half of the collection). The lamp that was a wedding present from dear family friends. The 42 year old philodendron – originally a wedding gift from my college roommate…a botany major.
Family pictures. Always family pictures. Oh…and a Lego character saved and resurrected from my son’s collection. Our grandson fell in love with “Astronaut” during his last visit, so we leave it on display for FaceTime. Ready and waiting to see him again.
Glancing behind me, the door to my “office” is open – my late mother-in-law’s antique chair tucked in the corner.
At the far end of the table… my mind clearing puzzle remains stretched out waiting to be finished.
Feel free to look back across 2019 or the 2010s, or whatever comes to your creative mind, when you are feeling retrospective!
Five years ago last November, my husband and I were still living in the home we had bought in 1980. The cape style house had been remodeled several times – adding space as our family grew larger. However, the dining room (originally an office & then my daughter’s bedroom) stayed virtually the same, with the occasional wallpaper and rug update.
I enjoyed eating breakfast in that small, yet cozy, dining room…something I had rarely done years earlier when life bordered on hectic. By 2014 our children had long since grown and moved on. I had (mostly) retired and treasured my mornings, lingering over the first meal of the day. No need to spend more time than necessary in the kitchen!
My seat at the dining room table faced a window looking out on our quiet neighborhood street. I sipped coffee with a clear view of the changing seasons…an occasional car…yellow school bus…jogger.
For some reason…I don’t remember why…I took a photograph of my window view one November morning in 2014. Perhaps it was the autumn leaves still hanging on despite the colder temperatures. Not sure, but I didn’t question the impulse.
Then…one thing led to another…
I thought it would be fun to document – on a regular basis – the changes happening outside…as seen from my seat at the table. At evenly spaced intervals of course. Not too surprising, as I am known to do that sort of thing (just ask my children…). Capturing moments.
For the next 11 months – on or about the 10th of every month at breakfast – I took a picture of that view…trying to line up the shot the same way each time.
The first photo…November 10, 2014.
The last of the monthly photos was taken October 12th, 2015.
I am glad I chronicled this evolving, yet familiar, scene. Little did I know at the time, but major life changes were on the way.
One year later – in October 2016 – we sold our home of 36 years.
I wonder if the new owner is enjoying the view as much as I did.
My entry for this week’s challenge dates back to 1980.
When thanks to a first-time homeowners federal loan program…we were able to borrow 95% of the dollars needed to purchase our first home.
A new four room cape on a half acre lot. Simple and small. Two bedrooms. Living room. Kitchen. One bathroom. Full basement. Unfinished attic.
With my father-in-law’s help we planted new shrubbery. Those tiny rhododendrons eventually reached the windows.
We chose Potomac Blue for the color…which changed 6 years later to Barn Red…and 5 years later to We-Are-Tired-of-Painting white vinyl siding.
What was this land before the builder covered it with houses?
Irene Waters’ “Times Past” prompt challenge topic for February is: Tales of Terror
Can you remember any tales of fear that your parents used to stop you going out of bounds. Please join in giving your location at the time of your memory and your generation.
As a baby boomer growing up in the USA suburbs, I basically roamed the tree lined streets of my working class neighborhood. On foot. On my bike. On my skateboard. On roller skates. I specifically remember the house I lived in from the age of 4 to 11. There were woods to explore at one end of the street before it curved uphill to circle around to the next block. Houses lined up close together and near to the street.
My mother issued two clear directives to keep me safe:
Don’t take candy from strangers.
This was in the context of a stranger driving around the block, who might stop, open the door and try to lure me into his car with a Nestle’s Crunch. I would then never be seen again. And terrible things would happen…which were never spelled out in any detail, but an implied tale of terror just the same.
I will admit I considered possibly grabbing the candy and making a run for it. However the opportunity never presented itself.
Being the immortal child that I was, I was unafraid to ride my bike for hours at a time…for long distances that perhaps would have been prohibited if I had advertised my adventures. Which I didn’t.
A favorite trip: to “the little store” on the other side of town…saved my allowance and bought my own candy. Smarties, Mary Janes, Mounds, tiny wax bottles (remember those? argh), button candy, Bazooka Bubble Gum. No strangers needed. Sometimes I let my younger sister tag along, swearing her to secrecy.
Interesting side note: when we first moved there, my sister was 3 years old. One day she packed a lunchbox with napkins, hopped on her tricycle and took off…without telling anyone. Her destination: where we used to live…a long car ride away. A dozen houses later – almost a quarter mile – she arrived at the far end of our road, about to pedal down the cross street. A dangerous intersection at the crest of a hill. The neighbor on the corner stopped her in time and called the police.
So my sister got a ride in a police car…which is where she was eventually spotted by my frantic mother. Who had grabbed me and my infant brother and probably went looking for strangers with candy. An actual tale of terror thankfully averted.
Don’t go near Tony M.
Tony was a mentally challenged teenager who lived a couple of blocks away. At least I think he was a teenager…to my young eyes he could have been in his twenties. He lived with his parents and sometimes wandered around looking somewhat disheveled. It was never explained to me what he might do. Or say. But the look in my mother’s eyes spoke fear. My questions about why went unanswered. I rarely saw him, but when I did he mostly looked lonely and sad. I wonder what happened to him.
Turning my attention toward the positive this week…
I am gathering source material. I like the way that sounds…source material. For a very long story about “the house” — or rather, our home, of over 36 years. As I have written about in previous posts (Nest, Photos), my husband and I downsized and moved to a condo a couple of years ago. It was probably the most exhausting thing I have ever done (besides giving birth to two 9 lb+ babies, but that didn’t take as long).
I was more than ready to move. However, our adult children (who had moved out over a decade earlier) were clearly NOT ready for us to move. Especially our daughter. Our nest was their nest, empty (of them) or not. The reality of no childhood home to return to for their (infrequent) visits was jolting. Did they try to talk us out of it? Absolutely not. But their emotional ties were evident. “Coming down the stairs on Christmas morning” together…(every single year) would come to an end. The “remember whens” without the familiar backdrop of home…hard to imagine. Our new grandson would not be able to run around in his mama’s old backyard.
On the final day before the sale, I toured the empty house on facetime with my long distance 34 year old daughter. We shared a last look at the rooms she grew up in…and some memories of each. Both of us in tears.
I then realized the enormity of this home’s real significance in our lives. But mostly in our kids’ lives. This surprised me since I never had any deep emotional ties to my childhood homes. None at all. I could not fully understand their attachment. How deep it is.
I am going to write about those 36 1/2 years. For them. For us. For me. A story…the house that became a home and what happened. I am very curious to see what evolves.
But first I need to begin gathering my materials (after shopping at my favorite office supply store):
Hanging file folders. One for each year – to sort & organize.
Calendars for 37 years – chronicling all our activities. Each one a diary in itself.
Letters – still gathering.
File boxes of house receipts and info that escaped shredding.