Today I walked in my childhood steps on Google’s street view.
I saw my ancestral home, much, much different from what I remember. The six-foot hedge that surrounded the property is gone. Probably the new owners had something better to do than to spend hours every week trimming the hedge and trimming the old hedge archway.
The front porch that I played Barbie on has been replaced by a bigger porch but the retaining wall that my dad and brother built looks like it is still there. When we lived here, there were aluminum awnings over the two front windows and over the front door. In my memories, the front was covered with aluminum siding but now is back to the original stucco.
My parents bought this house new back in November of 1953 for $11,250, seven years before I was born. It was a three bedroom bungalow with a living room, kitchen and dinette. Over time, the basement was finished. My grandmother moved in with us in 1963 after my grandfather died and my parents added a bed-sitting room with kitchen for her. A laundry room was added that sported 2 large concrete wash tubs, a wringer-washer and for those weather emergencies, a dryer. Over time, some pantry shelves were added as well as a huge deep freezer. Later, when my father began offering music lessons in our home, he added a studio and a waiting room to the basement, along with a two piece bathroom.
Off the furnace room, my dad had a workshop and I spent many hours hanging out with him, smelling the sawdust from the table saw and helping him sort transistors for his electronics projects.
My room was immediately behind the living room and as a small child, I remember lying in bed with my ear against the living room wall, trying to overhear the adult conversations that went on in the living room after I’d been banished to sleep.
I remember the Sunday dinners, every weekend, when my brother and sister came to visit and my grandmother came up from her downstairs lair to share in a family dinner. The most popular Sunday meal was roast beef and Yorkshire pudding and I can picture the serving dishes being passed around the table and remember the too-full feeling after such a big meal.
My Best Friend’s House
My best friend lived across the street and as I pivot Google’s street view, I find that her house has changed even more than my old house did. Gone is the one car garage that her father built on the side of the property. Gone are the wooden raised flower beds that were in her front yard. The poured cement path leading to the front door has been replaced by interlocking stones and grass has grown between them.
Buchanan Public School
My public school looks much the same as I remember it. The kindergarten is still on the east side of the building and it looks as though the gymnasium is still on the west side, nearest the parking lot. The front walk brings back the memory of being unknowingly late for school one morning and having the principal come out and tell us to go back to the end of the path and then run towards the school! That makes no sense, even now!
My high school, too, looks much the same as I remember it. My memories here are sharper and more defined. I remember the teacher’s strike when I was in grade eleven. I remember tutoring math both the year of the strike and the next, when I was in the twelfth grade. I remember my locker combination – 37-26-6 – although why that sticks with me all these years later, heaven only knows.
Have you Googled your childhood home lately? Take a walk down memory lane now and see if it is the same as you remember.