My childhood home burned to the ground last week. It was demolished within 48 hours. I lived there from the day I was born until I turned 15. My grandparents moved out less than 5 years ago. I’ve spent the other half of my life moving back and forth from NY to NJ. I always ended back at my second childhood home throughout my life. That home is only 8 blocks from my first home.
I didn’t walk past my old place as much as I could’ve. I did however walk past it one day after having Baby Light. It was a dreary day in June and the sun was going down. I’d just realized that my step child had skipped school and hid in their bedroom for the entire day. With the anger and frustration from the situation I strapped 5 month old Baby Light to me and just began walking.
When I ended up on my old block I immediately ran into someone from my grammar school on the corner. At this point my husband had met up with me, I’d been out for awhile. During our journey, I told him many stories about my childhood & growing up on the block. Reminiscing of chalk stained cement from hopscotch, trees that I hid behind during hide & seek, tied rope to porches to utilize jumping double dutch with only two people & getting my bike stolen, a slew of memories had gone into an abyss of happiness & mystification.
Some people don’t get the comfort of having things stay the same for such a long period of time. It shaped my adult life. Dreams always related back to those times inside of love, despair, trauma, pain, excitement and every multifaceted area of my life as a young person. I’d always looked at the house as if it had more meaning than it should. It appeared to have a soul when it did not. Two entire decades from the last century were spent there. I guess the memories gave it life. If those walls could speak, they would know to hush.
It burned so badly that it connected to the two other homes it stood next to. Those 2 homes carried many memories of me running in backyards to different cookouts from my neighbors. I enjoyed tons of conversations straight from my windows with best friends. I knew every family on the block & had been in every house. The 80’s and 90’s still had this family aspect where everyone looked out for everyone without a second thought. The intuitiveness of just being genuine came from not having WiFi or so many shows to watch, news to influence & social media to judge.
The home burning to the ground though…
Feels like a person I forgot to speak to for a long time but still fantasized about. Feels like someone I told myself that I’d forgiven for any pain they caused but the scars still keloid. Feels like the walls had too many secrets to hold and the happiest of times couldn’t reconcile what was to come. The karma of it all seems quite sad & coincidental that it would burn down almost a year to the day after the living owners passed on. Maybe some things are suppose to die with people, die with the secrets, & just burn.
It’s like having a planet to move to that was void of pollution & only dwelling in love, yet a tear still sheds to watch the Earth explode. They say home is where the heart is but no one’s heart is ever stagnant. It beats just like the rain against my window used to in my old bedroom on stormy nights.
I feel like I lost a member of my family. And I did. It was a 3 family home. My grandparents lived on the 2nd floor. My mom, brother & I moved from the 3rd floor to the 1st. My aunts & uncle grew up there and I had a plethora of cousins and friends to run up and down the stairs with. My last living grandparent passed on 11 months ago, my aunt passed on 3 wks before him & my step grandmother passed 4 yrs ago. My cousin who I grew up with took care of them all & buried them one by one. (Pray for her as you read this.) The house had it’s time & so did we. So as I mourn it’s cement and walls, I become very clear on the memories it gave me & the stability my mother enforced within it.
As a mother myself I see ways to recreate my childhood with my children. Things that I want for them come directly from having special moments that mainly my mother conceived from thin air. We intuitively purchased a small Xmas tree to celebrate Xmas for Baby Light this past weekend. In the 7 years that my husband and I have been together we’ve never celebrated Xmas. All of a sudden though, I reminisced of colorful lights illuminating the corner of my old living room. The nostalgia of it all feels good. With time, my memories may fade a bit but I’m fortunate to be able to instill new memories with my newly created family. So as I reminisce over yesterday, I say yes to today to live better & brighter. R.I.P 661 we had an AMAZING run.
Who Are You Gonna Be Today?