On our recent trip to my hometown of Pocatello we drove by two of the houses I have lived in, and I stopped the car to take pictures of each. (Probably freaked out the owners if they saw me) I'll bet most of you have done this at some time. There is something so compelling about going back for a new look at a place you once called home. It is almost irresistible.
This is the house I lived in from age 4 to age 14, the first house my parents actually owned. 61 Maplewood.
It was a postwar house like thousands built quickly at the end of World War II all over the United States, in a neighborhood of street after street of identical houses, filled with kids—a great place to grow up. Unlike many of its neighbors, this house actually looks better today than it looked 60 years ago when I posed, miserably, on the front steps with my broken arm at the age of 8.
The iron railing my dad added to the house is still there, and, incredibly, the same screen door. The paint looks much better than it did back then. The only photos I could find of that house were of the front steps, where it seemed I often posed for a photo. Here I am at the bottom of the steps proudly showing off my stylish southwestern style dress, sewn by my mother.
Like the other house, I have no photos of it when we lived there, only bits, like what you can see behind my son (wasn't he cute?!) in this old shot.
However, about 15 years ago I made a quilt with our long-gone Volkswagen for a guild challenge, themed "Firsts"—first house, first new car.
How I wish I had documented, in photos, all of the places I've lived. I would love to revisit each one and see how they have changed and remember what my life was like when I lived there, and somehow search for whatever mark I might have left on that house that has become the container for other lives, and see if I can detect any sense of me that might linger there. Humble, though most of them have been, I have loved every house I've ever lived in.
My son-in-law gave me a painting he painted of our last Portland house. I wish I had one of each house. I wish I had known how much I would enjoy looking back on those houses.
And today I took a picture of the house I live in now.
So here's an idea. Go take a picture of your house. Now. Do it. Someday you'll be glad you have it, I promise.