Wednesday, March 2, 2011

3-2-11 old home places

First home: Grahamcrest Apartments, off of Telephone and Bellfort

I don't know if you can see it, but behind the three trees in the center of the picture above is a cement picnic table with benches.

That would be the same table as the one behind this drooling, admittedly pretty cute, baby:

What interests me is that there are no trees. So in my lifetime, those three relatively large trees were planted, presumably as small twigs and have managed to grow quite tall.

Then I remind myself, yes, trees can grow quite tall in 40 years.
 I'm not sure why I can't quite keep that straight in my head. 
But at least the place looks like it's still in pretty nice shape, although the cars aren't half as cool.

On the other hand, here's the house I spend the majority of my life in. 

In "my day" it was mint green with white accents, including the jaunty script "Eleven Two Twenty Two" on the front of the house, with heavy wrought iron gates to the front "porch" and across the front of the driveway. 

In later years, the front area became a greenhouse, with a fountain made of river rock collected on family vacations in the mountains.

In the backyard, a garden area in one patch to grow tomatoes and cucumbers, and a pool.

Along the side of the house was a covered tool shed. In the front yard, there were great climbing trees along the curb and pines throughout the yard, with elephant leaves planted under my parents' bedroom window (left). There were rose bushes in the flower bed on the little hill in the front.

I haven't lived in any house as long as I did at Sageville, from age 6 to 18. This is the house in which so many of my dreams still take place. 

This was home.

Twenty years later, here's the Google Street View camera shot of the old homeplace. The curbside trees are gone, the greenhouse area and rock fountain are gone, the fence between the houses is gone, and the elephant leaves have gone wild, completely covering up the front bedroom window.

When I drove past it in 2008 even the elephant leaves and a couple more pines were gone, and across the window was plywood. All the front area is decimated, all the wrought iron pulled down. In 2009 when I was showing Lynne around the old neighborhood, the plywood was still across the window, and there were about 4 big dually pickups parked across the driveway and in the yard, along with some very scary looking guys and a couple of pit bulls hanging around. Lynne suggested she ask them if we could take a look inside for old times sake. I looked at her like she was crazy and didn't stop the car.

And. . .   good to know . . .  that was a wise move.

For this is now a drug house. Or was, last year, before the neighbor turned the very scary looking men who lived there for animal abuse (pit bull puppies) and, upon investigation, the ATF were called in to bust up the meth lab inside. This neighbor was the same one I knew from my years growing up there and she told me the backyard had been turned into a landfill. Looking at the satellite view, you can see the "A" marker over the roof and the giant blackened cement square in the back.

I am not sure why this makes me so sad. Time carries on, takes its toll, etc, etc. The house literally sits in the shadow of the beltway and a teenager was killed in a driveby on the street recently. It's not the same place any more. . .  except in memories. And perhaps a few of the trees who have weathered the storms. 


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