Thursday, April 26, 2012

4-26-12 take me home

I discovered the the google map car had made the rounds in Houston again and, from the street view, it appeared the boards had come down off the front bedroom window that was once my parent's in my childhood home. I was hopeful perhaps someone had taken ownership of the place and was fixing it back up.

I decided to google the address as a phrase in images and I came across a realtor's collection of 168 photos of the place from April 2011, mainly close ups of the extensive damage, holes in the walls, missing fixtures, and "as is condition" of a home that was in the asking price of $45,000 and was later put up at auction with a starting bid of 29K.

This crumbling shell of a place continues to be beloved to me.

I'm not sure why this punches me in the gut so viscerally, but I sit here with tears in my eyes, a mixture of the horror of the rape of the place I once knew and the sweet memories I have of every nook and cranny in that home, or, at least, what was once a home.

The tiny hill where the rosebeds shined hasn't been leveled, but the greenhouse, and the fence, the side shed where the lawnmower was kept, and half a dozen trees in the front yard are gone. I thought the wrought iron fence had been taken down, but it appears they just tacked boards on it to keep prying eyes away.

Someone overhauled the interior at one point. 
This is the front entrance, with partial walls constructed between the entry and the front living room.

Looking from the front door inside, it is unrecognizable.
The fireplace is gone. In its place, a gigantic wall-sized window looking into the back yard where the pool once was.

The entire floor appears to have been tiled on the cheap. 
This is the front window looking out on the street.

Where there was once a forest mural, there are now wall mirrors. 
While I'm not a fan of the decorating, this is at least not the mess that the rest of the place appears to be.

The center of the house has been emptied into one gigantic room.

The utility room is gone. But we can pole dance... 

The garage had been converted into a large kitchen before we moved in. 
Now the entire house seems to be the same room.

I've stared at this for awhile. I can't even place it. 

The pantry door, oddly, has never been replaced. 
This is one of the few the things recognizable to me.
They cut a new door and a place to put the microwave in the wall where the refrigerator was. 
What I can't quite place is where a refrigerator would go now.

The double ovens are still there. A bunch of the cabinets doors, however, are not.
Neither is the exposed beam where we hung the pots.

The cookie jar sat there. Everything was yellow and green and flowered.

The green panelling inside the pantry is still there. 
But the shelves on the left were taken down.

This was the dining room, home to so many nice dinners, and the sideboards, and mom's paintings.

Mammammy and Grandaddy's room. She kept a day bed in that closet where I would sleep when I was sick. She'd angle it with the head kind of sticking out so I could see  the TV and we could watch Wheel of Fortune each night. The TV was to the left of the sliding glass door. 

Those were replaced with french doors at some point. 

This entire wall has been ripped out. 
That used to be a private bath with a door near the sink.
The bizarre nook wasn't there. Instead, mammammy's vanity was there. 
I'd sit and brush my hair in the mirror with her brush.

This was mammammy's corner. 
The bed was under the window and in the corner was her recliner 
and the black desk that my television currently resides on now in my home sat along in the wall. In its drawers she kept candy bars for me, and her pistol hidden underneath.

sigh. Little privacy, maybe? And someone painted the side of the tub. Classy.

as sad as this is, these are some of original pieces of the house. I remember this tile.

those louvered doors and the shelf paper are Tori-era

The hall on the other side of the house to the other three bedrooms.

This was my room from age 8 to 18.

This was my closet. When we moved in, a boy must have had the room, because the closet was papered with astronauts in that cool 60s drawing. My old trunk was in here, hiding under clothes, filled with treasures.

This is grandaddy's office for reflexology, at least after 1978, when I moved out and into the bigger bedroom. This is where my loft bed was, on the wall to the left.  

This is mom and dad's room. 
Here's why the boards were taken down -- so you can see the carnage. 
I sat up in that deep window and read my books.

Mom's dresser (which is now mine in my bedroom) sat here with her big gold jewelry box I loved to poke through.

Their little bathroom. Who takes the hardware off the cabinets? Honestly.

My bathroom. When we lived here, the original owners had left us a pretty dreadful decorater's nightmare of red scalloped, raised patterned, fuzzy wallpaper. I wish I had a picture of it now. 

What really saddened me what that, thanks to removing pretty much everything but load bearing walls, access to the attic is gone. There used to be built-in steps in the laundry room up into my fortress of solitude. I wonder if they took out the little room up there. 

 You can still kind of make out the lettering of the address on the house to the left of the kitchen window. Alicia, my cat, sat up in that window all the time.

They must have had to blast that concrete fountain that mom and dad built and lined with mountain rocks with dynamite to remove it entirely. The greenhouse had a matching wrought iron gate connected to the bricks you see here.

The giant elephant ears have been cut away and are dying, except for the pine trees, that have born witness to the place its whole existence.


There are the original wrought iron gates, falling off and covered in fence board. There used to be a portico to shelter you from the rain at the side door. That window is my attic window.

Looking from where the garage grandaddy built in 1976 once stood.

Looking along the fence line where Sunday's house backed ours. 
There used to be a garden behind the garage.

This was the add-on constructed before we bought the place, the additional master bedroom and bath that was my grandparents' apartment of sorts.

 The path to the backyard is almost unpassable.

The backyard, where the pool once was. There's that giant window thing where the fireplace should be. There was a rock area at the sliding glass doors that I would spend hours in, sorting rocks by shapes, sizes, colors. The rest of the area beside the house was concrete and brick, all pulled up.

What's left of the backyard really sent me over the edge. Knowing the previous tenants (before the sale) were breeding and fighting pitbulls (and cooking meth) makes me wonder how many dog skeletons lie under this ground now.



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