This morning, I had a chance to visit the neighborhood that I grew up in. I took the camera with me in hopes of snapping a picture of the sidewalk near my house. I remember being about 6 years old and my brother and I noticed that some guys were pouring new concrete for sidewalks. After the guys left, Joel and I grabbed a twig and ran over to the new sidewalk and wrote our names in the semi-dry concrete. I was hoping that our names would be etched in that sidewalk for all of eternity. I discovered today that there is no such thing as everlasting sidewalk etches. The sidewalk still existed, but our names were no longer visable.
From there, I drove to the house that my grandparent's use to own. I was shocked! It's in the middle of a run down area, but there it was looking just as it did when I was a kid. No disappointments at all. Mommo and Granddaddy would be proud, I think.
Then I drove over to my old school. It's not the same building that I remember. It used to be a huge building- it seems to have shrunk, though. How does that happen? I guess when we are little, everything seems so huge. When we grow up, we see things from a different perspective.
The biggest shock came when I next visited my childhood home. I remember growing up in a beautiful, Spanish style home. The lawn was perfectly manicured; we had a big cactus garden along the curb, huge flowering bushes lining the front of the house, and flourishing plants filled the courtyard in the front (my Dad was an incredible gardener, and landscaping was his hobby- he would roll over in his grave if he saw the yard looking this way). What a sight this was-- not at all how I remembered it. The houses on the cul-de-sca seem to have grown closer together too. There were no kids playing in the neighborhood- no life energy at all. How could this have happened? I used to look out my bedroom window (the double window to the right of the front door) and see all of my childhood friends playing kickball in the street. Now it just seems depressing- devoid of life, and landscaping. I'm also a little puzzled by the fact that there is no chimney on the house. We definately had a fireplace. I wish I would've had the guts to knock on the door and ask if I could come inside and take pictures. Can you imagine how the floodgates of memories would've opened up if I could step foot inside that house? I'm sure that memory and time would have distorted every image that I ever had, but what I would give to see the bedroom that I grew up in, the basement where Daddy taught pottery classes, or the den where Santa Clause used to leave my presents once a year.
They say that you can't go back. Maybe I shouldn't have. But it's nice to have roots. It's nice to be able to remember (and visit) where you came from once every few decades. And although this picture doesn't show it, I see my life here-- if you look closely you can see an 8 year old Brian walking on top of the courtyard wall for the first time-- a little Brian running out to the mailbox to get the mail- a little Brian walking on stilts or hopping on a Pogo stick in the driveway. You have to look very closely and use my mind's eye-- but it's there. I see it!
(FYI~ for some reason, the pictures that I planned on posting aren't uploading. I'll try to update this blog later, or post a follow-up with actual pictures of my house and my grade school- til then, use your imagination!)