It is said that you can 'never go home again.' It is true, I think. When you try to do so, you'll find that things are changed, never quite the same as they were.
This morning I read a friend's blog from earlier this month. He spoke of his childhood home, and the realization that he hasn't a single photo of that place. The house remains, as far as he knows, on the same property he played on as a child, but only his memories remain of the interior of the home itself.
On one of his trips to our hometown, he went to visit the old homestead, and though the owner was good enough to invite him to walk through, and things looked much the same inside the walls, it wasn't really 'home' anymore.
I felt a sadness in reading that entry. I think it's because it hit 'so close to home' for me. My childhood home was demolished, in its relative 'youth'. It was built in 1959 and added on to in the 1960's. It met its demise in the late 1990's, after being sold out of our family. Another house was built on the original, but expanded foundation. It looked nothing like the house with the four small bedrooms and two baths that I spent my teen years growing up in. I was able to walk through when construction was being completed. It had an open floor-plan, a fireplace, fewer and larger bedrooms. As pretty as that new house was, it was not 'home' anymore. I felt as if I'd lost a loved one.
I knew that same sadness when my grandmother's house was sold out of the family, but that still stands, and without too many changes to its old body. Yes, it has been renovated slightly and repairs have been made, but there isn't too much to complain about...except the yard. Grandpa's old shop was taken down. The old and beautiful lilac bushes were taken out, as were the other flowering plants. Rows of large, colorful bearded iris were removed too. And now, tall hedges hide the house from the street. Otherwise, the house is much the same.
My own home, which was where my children were reared, was sold when we moved south. I understand that nothing much was changed there, but that everything was painted white inside the house. The yard looked nearly the same when I was visiting my hometown 3 years ago, but I did see that the picket fence and some plants were gone from what was a large rose and lily garden on the side of the house. The large blue spruce trees that offered privacy were trimmed from the ground up, leaving a heavy topped tree, which I fear will cause the trees to break in strong winds or storm.
There is little one can do about these changes that come to our beloved homes. They belong to someone else now, and whatever it is that they do to make it 'theirs' is beyond our control. Still, we visit these places in our minds and memories. We walk across the wood floors. knowing just where they will creak. We wander in and out of rooms and see the wallpapers, and smell the offerings from the kitchen stove. We know every nook and cranny.
With or without the photos to remind us, we know what we know about our former homes. I think it best not to mingle the present with the past by physically visiting those buildings that housed us for so long. It causes us unrest and discomfort, because...you really can never go home again.