I moved around a fair amount as a kid. I have fond memories of several places. At the Grey House I remember sun and novels on our big back balcony that had a view over the city rooftops. At the Castle House we’d all squeeze around the round table with its checkered tablecloth and enjoy dado’s culinary delights.
But the 775 House stands out in my memory as my childhood home. It might be because it had a great yard. It might be because I had bunk beds at that house. It might be because I lived there for the longest stretch of all the homes in my childhood. But really I think that was home because we were surrounded by family there.
No one in my family lives in the 775 House anymore. It was sold a few years back after its owner, a cherished aunt, died. However, it is still in my life because I drive by it on my daily commute to work. Driving by brings up so many vivid memories, I can almost see little ghost children of my past running across the grass playing tag or manning a lemonade stand. The magnolia tree still blooms each spring and I can close my eyes and imagine its scent and the velvet softness of its pale pink petals. I remember doing cartwheels off the low stone wall that shores up the raised front lawn. There is an iconic picture of my cousins and I on the front steps of the 775 House when we were all under 10.
Before, when my aunt was still living there, I’d check for a light to be on when I drove by before work. A shining light made a glow in my heart as well as I thought of my aunt in her warm yellow kitchen having her morning cup of tea – always with a cat nearby.
A couple of weeks ago, a fence went up around the 775 House and all the rest of the houses on that block. Through misty eyes, I could see the windows were covered with boards too. It wasn’t a total surprise. I have known they are going to turn the block into a high rise. But seeing its reality creep closer has me dreading the day I drive by and it is nothing but a construction site or, worse yet, they are in the midst of tearing down the place.
I know the house is just a building but it is hard to separate it from the memories. I am trying to take solace in the fact that though the house may be torn down, the memories will continue to stand tall in my heart. And they will. Sometimes it is just hard to let the tactile go. Sometimes it is hard to accept change.