26 June 2007

the places we live.

I was riding my bike around Lake of The Isles last week and saw a house being demolished. It was such a surreal sight; half of it was gone exposing the inside of the home as though it were a dollhouse. There were about 20 people watching from the sidewalk, including one elderly man who looked so sad. I imagined him disliking the trend of people buying older million dollar homes on the Minneapolis Lakes and then tearing them down to build their own "McMansion". Who knows what he was thinking or if he was even sad about the house (I do tend to dramatize these situations). But it got me thinking about the sentimentality of houses we live in and have lived in.
My mom still lives in the house that she and my dad brought me home to from the hospital. I love that house. It's a really great 1920's craftsman style bungalow in Northeast Minneapolis. The woodwork is beautiful and it has all sorts of neat built ins. My mother has the most extensive and beautiful gardens of anyone on her block & her patio is the perfect place to be on a lovely summer evening. But it's not the woodwork or the gardens that mean so much, it's knowing the story behind most nicks in the woodwork & remembering when the 25 year old dishwasher was brand new. If someone bought that house only to tear it down I would be heartbroken. But houses tend to stay in my family...
On both sides of my family, homes of my grandparents are now resided in by aunts and uncles. The home belonging my great grandparents was sold sometime in the early 1990's to, gasp, strangers! This is still a little bit of a sore spot in certain circles..
And to think of the places I lived in college. When I went back to Tacoma 2 years ago we drove by each of them (4 in all) in the middle of the night. It felt very nostaligic driving through the North End, almost as though I would drive upon my college self walking (or maybe staggering) home from a party.
In my six years of residence in the city of lakes, I have lived in 3 places. My current abode is the top two floors of a lovely, old duplex. There is a lot of character, beautiful woodwork and great built-ins. sometimes I look over the dented wood work and try to imagine how that deep scratch came to be on the buffet, or who varnished it all so painstakingly.
Perhaps they too have driven by our house half expecting to see their former self walk out.

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