Just saw a pic of my childhood home

My childhood home was bulldozed years ago. Whoever bought the property has left it a vacant lot.

We lived right next to the church, and I think they were assuming that the congregation would want the property. That church has really atrophied over the years, though, and they probably weren’t in any position to do any expanding.

At 4 & 5 years old, we lived in Chattanooga, TN. Our house was the first one off the access road by I-24, and you can see it from the highway as you pass.
Even though we moved to Evansville, IN and then Nashville TN, we still had to go to Savannah, GA to visit my grandparents, and we’d pass that house every time. I always wanted to stop and see it. I was a huge mansion, 3 stories, maybe 20 rooms or so, a giant porch on the side and a huge 8 or 10 car garage out back that was fun to explore. It was set back from from the road about 200 yards, and was my favorite house ever.

When I became a free-range adult and could go wherever I wanted, I would visit friends back in Nashville ( traveling from Atlanta) quite often. One trip, I had my wife with me and I decided by Og, I’m going to visit my house and take pictures. Hell, it’s right there!
We got off the highway, went down the access road, and turned onto my street, but something was wrong. In place of our mansion, someone had built a small replicaof it, and put it about 100 feet from the road! It was like a doll house. I recognized everything, including the porch, but it was all so small. (it’s the gray roof by the redder roof -behind those awful condos facing the access road and the hut up on the street. That’s my yard, people!)

I began to realize the reality of the situation; how we perceive our world as children and grow from there, but it was depressing as hell. I clearly remember growing up in something like the White House, but this was more like a shack.

I guess Dr. Oatman’s right. You can never go home

My childhood home was right next to my grandmother’s house. Well, still is, I guess, because she and my aunt and cousin still live there. I see the old house every time I visit them, and it’s changed a lot. A gay couple bought it when we moved out, which was a big deal back in our neighborhood in the 80s. I only met them once - they apparently like to keep to themselves and not hang out with the neighbors. I’m pretty sure the same guys are still there, because the family would have mentioned the place changing hands. They put in a tall hedge and dozens of shrubs and trees, making the yard into a forest. It looks small and dark now, not how I remember it from when I was young.

It’s a beautiful home. Around here you’d be hard pressed to find something like that around $750K.

Can’t say I have the opportunity to have this experience yet. My parents still live in the house I grew up in, so I go back inside it several times a year. Of course, they’ve changed a fair bit since I last lived there full time, but it’s been gradual. My bedroom is now the guest room, but I stay in there. It doesn’t feel like my room anymore, but it’s somewhat surreal sleeping with my wife in the room I grew up in. :slight_smile:

The house I grew up in is gone. The property is now a self-storage yard, with a hundred or so of those mini-garage stall sized storage units.

The first house I ever owned is up for sale. I haven’t gone through it, but the pictures posted online show that it’s in pretty good shape - better than when I sold it. The owners of a neighboring bought part of the land to expand their business, so the lot is an even tinier postage stamp than it was before. The current price is almost exactly double what I sold it for - in 1986.

That’s just down the street from the Heritage House isn’t it? I took my prom date to dinner there…

Small world! Last week we about asked to see that one!

We’ve been house hunting, and Chesaning is about a county away. We have friends who live over that way, and were thinking of asking to see the inside of the place, but decided it was just a bit too far from work.

Captain_C - It’s really, really a great house. At least go see it. I know for a fact that the seller is motivated - my sister looked at it to possibly buy last year. She decided not to retire to Michigan.

D-bear - When I was a kid, Dr. Forsythe lived there. His dog bit me. It’s kitty corner to our old house.

StG

Henry Forsythe actually was the Doctor who delivered me. That’s why I chose that place for Prom. I went to Chesaning schools until 1981 and then we moved… Finished up at Ovid Elsie. I love what a small world the dope is…

D-bear - I used to cut through Doc Forsythe’s yard when walking to school at Our Lady of Perpetual Help. My family wasn’t native to Chesaning, and were always seen a bit as outsiders, although we were friends with the Sellecks and the Bilas and others. Then later I went to HS at Chesaning Union. My family moved to Minneapolis in 1976. Talk about a culture shock!

StG

On your recommendation we just might. It’s about a notch above our price range (really seriously looking at the 150k-180k mark) but exceptions can be made. Thanks fellow internet person!

This is my childhood home. (Sorry for the Flash; here’s a non-Flash listing, but without as many good pictures)

My father sold our house back in 1991, about five years after my mom died, and it was a fairly contentious, ugly time for me and my family. Now, as an adult, I understand why he sold it. He had a new partner in Manhattan and was spending most of his time there, none of us really lived at home, the house had too many memories and he didn’t want to live their alone, but most of all, it was crazy expensive to live there and especially pay taxes ($13K at the time) on a house he was barely living in.

Anyway, I would say for the next twenty-eight years I spent three or four nights a week dreaming about the house; the dreams were almost always the same: I’d sneak inside wihle the new owners were away, and the house would be filled with our old junk, dilapidated, treated horribly, etc. But I’d always hide out there. (It was perhaps one of the most obvious, easy-to-analyze psychologically recurring dream I’ve ever had, aside from the one where my mom would be alive, still sick, but my father still chose to be with his new girlfriend. Yeah, my subconscious is embarrassingly blatant.)

I’ve driven back there a few times and have been saddened a bit by the changes made to the outside; the showpiece of the house was always its gorgeous oak door, which we kept in immaculate shape, but since we left has been allowed to get weatherbeaten and dull. Also, some apple trees and lovely 40-foot-high evergreen trees had been chopped down (living in NYC without a tree taller than 8 feet in sight, I can’t even imagine such a desecration!). But still. The dreams continued.

Then in 2009 I received an email from one of the owners of the house, whom we’d sold the home to back in '91. The village was celebrating its 100th anniversary and the wife was wondering if my sisters and I had any memories of the house or village as we’d grown up we could share for a little local history booklet she was helping coordinate. She was sorry to hear that my father had passed away in 2003, as they remembered what a charming man he was and how much he’d loved the house. I emailed her with a few recollections and then gathered the courage to ask: would it be a huge imposition if we could visit the house? She said not at all, very warmly. She and her husband had put the house on the market, actually, for similar reasons to my father – their kids had grown up and left, and a 14-room-house was too big and too expensive for a couple.

One of my sisters and I went to visit, and it was… strange. First, the inside wood looked gorgeous, which you can see in some of the pictures up above. The house is a classic Tudor and sure, there were some changes that had made my sister and me cringe inwardly (mostly just ripping out the original oak wainscotting that had lined about 1/2 the walls in the ground floor,* painting the bricks in our den white, and blocking up the tiled fireplace in the master bedroom to turn it into a walk-in closet–oy veh!), overall the house looked beautiful. The inglenook fireplace shown in that slideshow was stunning with the new shelving, and though we both felt an ache at the loss of the grand piano for that flat white leather… sofa thingy, which is shown in picture #3 I think, obviously that was a logical decision if they couldn’t play. (Also, we took the piano with us anyway, obviously, since it was ours.)

All in all the house consisted of elements that were just as we’d remembered, and elements that were different enough to how we’d remembered so that we somehow didn’t feel homesick. Bittersweet longing for our youth but the differences meant that the house was no longer ours. It had been passed on to owners who, despite the different tastes, obviously cherished and valued the house. They loved it too.

Two things really stunned me, moved me to tears.

First was that in the basement, though they’d blocked off much of the wonderfully old creepy stone section that had been the source of much imaginative playacting (it looked like an Elizabethan dungeon), my father’s work room was still there, and still intact. I mean, they even had the same tools there–his tools, which I guess he’d left behind. I stood in that room and saw the things my father had used for various small house repairs, things I would never have thought I would be sentimental over, and missed him so damn much. Plus I was oddly touched that they hadn’t just tossed the tools away, even though the area was no longer used at all.

My other moment of heartache, yet in a good way: in the mid-70s, my late mom, being a major Anglophile, had lined the dining room wall above the wainscotting with this lovely Tudor-era designed tapestry. When my sister and I visited, once we entered the house and saw the wainscotting was gone (which the owners explained was because they wanted to hang pictures on the wall–understandable) I knew instantly that the tapestry would be gone as well. And of course, it was.

But. The couple had taken the fabric and used it to re-cover a padded bench near the stairwell, and made eight tiny pillows for the bench with it too. I… I just loved that. Seeing that material re-purposed in such a smart way moved me, somehow. My mom’s touch was still part of the house. I even had the nerve to ask the owner if, once they sold the house, I could purchase one of the pillows to keep. They of course said yes.

So the visit was extremely emotional and cathartic and strangely comforting, even though yes, there were painful moments too, with our parents being gone, and all the love that had been in the house, and the depression, and the lonely times I spent there as a child that still made me use my imagination to invent stories about the somewhat eerie attic and the aforementioned dungeons, and… well, it made me the writer I am today.

And I swear to God, people: after this visit? The recurring dreams went away. Just like that. I couldn’t have foretold it, and I wouldn’t dare put it in a story because it’s just too pat and sappy. But it’s true.

Anyway. The house has been on and off the market, I’ve noticed, and it was actually featured in the front page of the Sunday New York Times On the Market section last September. (Which would be almost exactly twenty years since we sold it.) But the owners can’t get the right buyers for it, and I understand why. We sold it for $550K in 1991; back in 2009 it was listed for $1.7 million, then went off the market, then went back in 2011 at $1.6M, and is now off again. It’s an admittedly old-fashioned house with 7 bedrooms and 4.5 bedrooms that, unfortunately, doesn’t have nearly as much land as a house this large should have. (I believe it’s only 1/4 acre.) It obviously requires upkeep, and the taxes are now $28K, thanks to the stellar school district. But this market sucks. The village has a great history, having been one of the earliest planned communities in NY.

Honestly, I kinda like that they haven’t sold it yet; I like that we still have a connection to the home–that the current owners bought it from us, y’know?

  • When we moved in back in '69, that wainscotting had been painted a garish red by the previous owners. My mother demanded it stripped back to the original oak, and very painstakingly, the work was done. It was gorgeous.

My husband’s childhood home was turned into a cafe (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/news/article.cfm?c_id=6&objectid=10683392).

We went there on our last trip to New Zealand and sat in what was his old bedroom. Very bizarre exprience. Sadly, the food and service weren’t very good so it probably won’t still be there on our next visit.

choie - What a beautiful home, and a greathouse to grow up in. It bothered me a great deal thinking about other people in my house, in my room. Mostly for this house, although we moved a number of times, so eventually I got over it. Still, when thinking about childhood homes, the house I linked to above is the one I usually think of.

StG