#31WriteNow: Where Home Is
A few weeks ago, my cousin Alex asked me to help her move some stuff. She’s a teacher and she’s switching grade levels, so she’s also switching classrooms. So she asked me to help her through the arduous process.
Of course I said yes, and as we neared her building, I realized that it’s in the same neighborhood as one of my childhood homes, my dad’s first house. I told her that I wanted to drive by it to look at it.
I have these moments of nostalgia infrequently, but I tend to relish in them when they come. So we made a right off of Brown Ave and on to 32nd Street in Kansas City, Kansas and rolled to a stop in front of…….a lot. An empty lot.
The house I lived in during my infancy and middle school years was no more. It was just an empty lot. The acre of grass that I used to cut weekly with my step brother stood unkempt, waist-high and free.
A flood of emotion ran through me, as did a million memories. I remember cementing the basement with my dad like it was yesterday, the same basement I got the whooping of all whoopings I once chronicled in a blog of yore. I remembered sitting in the living room after my dad picked me up from school every day in the first grade when my pops was a bachelor, wanting to ask him to play his Atari every day (I lived for Frogger), but failing to do so for fear he’d say no. I remember the battered man who ran up on porch bloodied after being robbed. I remembered the first time I sprained my ankle, fooling around shooting hoops by myself in the dead of winter (there was snow on the ground) and hobbling back to the house.
But now, there was no house and I just kept saying to myself and aloud “I can’t believe this.”
Alex wanted to pull off because a neighbor was lurking. I wanted to look a little more at my past. Alex and the neighbor made eye contact and Alex spoke.
The neighbor came up to the car and I explained why we stopped and who I was. The lady immediately remembered my face and more over, she could see my dad in me (Most people do). She told me that they’d torn the house down five or six years ago. She said she’d actually lived right across the street for nearly 40 years, just before my father had moved in to the neighborhood. We moved out around 1994, not long after the battered man found his way to our porch.
She didn’t know why the house had been demolished and it didn’t matter. It would’ve bothered me either way, and still does. Every other house that I grew up in (including my grandparents homes) is still standing. But I can’t tell you how much it sucks to know that one of my homes is gone.