Saturday, September 14, 2013

This old house

Home, once.
Laval, QC
August 2013
About this photo: Thematic celebrates treasures this week - please share yours here - and this place is about as treasured a building as I've ever known. Enjoy.
This is the house where I grew up. It's been years since my parents moved out - I wrote about it here - and even longer since I've lived there. These days, it looks a lot different after the new owners changed the siding (it used to be green), removed our beloved old silver birch tree from the front yard, added a Virgin Mary statue in the garden, and put in windows that presumably keep more of winter's wrath where it belongs.

As you can see, it isn't a mansion, doesn't stand out from the countless other suburban houses on countless other suburban streets, doesn't have thekind of so-called curb appeal that makes visitors go wow when they first see it from the street - or when they stalk it on Google Street View.

But that's not what a home is supposed to be, anyway, and there's a wide gulf between the concept of house and home. And while this isn't the McMansion of the dreams of so many, it was arguably more of a home to me than any other structure would have been. My entire world revolved around this nurturing place, and for the longest time when I was a kid, I would ask my parents if I could always live there with them.

Fast forward to adulthood, and clearly life doesn't work that way. We were staying barely five minutes away from here, as we always do when we return to the old hometown to visit family. For the longest time I had been reluctant to return here, hesitant to see what had become of my childhood home. But on this visit, a quick drive-by and photo-shoot was in order because the kids needed a happy and on this day at this time it finally felt right.

In the end, the things that made it a home are no longer here. The remarkably tight-knit community that surrounded this otherwise unassuming house has, for the most part, moved on. All of my childhood friends have migrated elsewhere, leaving a barely recognizable context in its wake. When I walk the streets here, no one knows who I am. Home is now an eight-hour drive west.

Still, I'm glad we did this, if only to remember well what we once had, and how we came to be who we are today.

P.S. I'll apologize for the smartphone-ish tone to the pic: I needed to shoot fast, then scoot, before the sight of an Ontario-plated car in the middle of the street creeped out the current occupants.

Your turn: What does "home" mean to you?

1 comment:

Kalei's Best Friend said...

Home is what shapes us, from memories, rituals, history.. People make a home.. Home is shelter.. What it houses molds those in it to what they eventually are..(metaphorically).