You can't go home again.

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Janus
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Recent experience has shown me just how true this is.
Last week, We took a short trip to the beach. We took a different route than we usually do, one that took us through an area where I lived from 6th -12th grade. I took the opportunity to drive my wife past the house we used to live in. It was depressing. It was falling into disrepair.
This was particularly heartbreaking because when my folks originally bought the house it was a derelict that hadn't been lived in for some time, and they put a lot of work during the time we were there turning it into a nice place to live. To see it backsliding was sad.

This in turn got me thinking about where we had lived before that, an 80 acre farm in MN. Being half the country away, driving past the place wasn't a practical option. The last time I was there was when we visited in '92, and I shot a bit of video of it, from which this screen shot is taken.

farm92.png

The original garage/sauna was gone, but the house, main barn and horse barn were pretty much as I remembered them from some 23 yrs earlier even if they were different colors.

So I opted for the next best thing: Google Earth.

The farm I grew up on no longer exists for all practical purposes.
Here's the overhead shot of the area, with this picture showing the the original 80 acres.
farm_all.png

It now has a road through it and is divided up among several homes. The white rectangle marks out where our house was.
Even the area inside the rectangle is almost unrecognizable. The original house is gone as are most of the other buildings. The only original structure left is the barn.
Here's a closer look, with the major changes noted with approx positions of the original buildings (though I realize that I've somewhat misplaced the horse barn). The building with the black X is new (replaces garage/equip shed, I presume)
homeclose.png




That being said, there are some landmarks that are still recognizable enough. Such as the area marked "old root cellar" on the top image.
This is what it looks like now from google street view (zoomed in from the road)
rootcellar_now.png

And here is a picture Mom painted of it while we were living there (as seen from the house).
rootcellar.png

If you look close, you can still just make out where the old root cellar was.

After nearly 50 years, I guess that's at least something.

How about anyone else? Ever go back to your childhood home to find it very different from how you remembered as being?
 

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  • #2
Buzz Bloom
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How about anyone else? Ever go back to your childhood home to find it very different from how you remembered as being?
Hi Janus:

I lived in a neighborhood in Durham, NC until I was 4. I have no memories of the place, except for seeing from time to time a few old photographs. When I was a teen and my family then lived in Baltimore, MD, we took a vacation back to Durham. My father took me to see the place I had forgotten, and we found that the entire old neighborhood no longer existed. It had been completely urban renewed.

Regards,
Buzz
 
  • #3
jtbell
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I'm sorry that both of your old homesteads / neighborhoods have basically disappeared. :frown:

I visit my hometown in Ohio every few years, most recently last year on my "rust belt road trip." All three of the houses that my parents and I lived in, are still there and in fair to good shape. The last one, that my parents built new and that we lived in from my fifth grade onwards, frankly looks in better shape then when we were there, because the current owners have put more work into landscaping. Also, I can see on Google Earth that there's now a patio in back, which my parents never got around to building. It's still a good solid neighborhood, although not a doctors' / lawyers' type neighborhood. Probably firefighters, teachers, factory workers, etc., just like when we were there.

Maybe next time I go back, I'll take some of my old pictures of the outside and inside of the house, and work up the nerve to knock on the door and introduce myself.

My Finnish grandparents' house on the other side of town still looks in fairly good shape, although the neighborhood (the old "Finn town") has gone way downhill. Vacant lots, abandoned houses, etc. The park down the street where I used to play when we visited my grandparents is probably a drug hangout now.

All of my schools are now gone. My elementary and junior high schools were eliminated in a massive downsizing and reorganization of the city school system in the 2000s. Their sites are now vacant lots. My high school building (that my parents also went to school in!) is gone, replaced with a new one right behind its former location. I happened to be in town when they were tearing down the old building about ten years ago, and I have one of its yellow bricks as a souvenir.
 
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Janus
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Maybe next time I go back, I'll take some of my old pictures of the outside and inside of the house, and work up the nerve to knock on the door and introduce myself.
I heartily recommend that you do. I wish I had when we were there in '92. If I'd had known it was going to be my last chance, I would have.
My Finnish grandparents' house on the other side of town still looks in fairly good shape, although the neighborhood (the old "Finn town") has gone way downhill. Vacant lots, abandoned houses, etc. The park down the street where I used to play when we visited my grandparents is probably a drug hangout now.
Both my parents were born in a small community a bit south of were we lived in MN, called Finlayson. It has a strong Finnish presence ( my grandparents were all Finnish.) While we used to visit relatives there from time to time ( By Dad's brother's families. All of Mom's siblings lived elsewhere, most of them up around where we lived at the time), I don't actually remember my folks ever pointing out where they or their parents had lived ( All four of them passed before I was born so it wasn't like I ever had the chance to go visit them.). I do know that there is a road that has my surname attached to it there.
All of my schools are now gone. My elementary and junior high schools were eliminated in a massive downsizing and reorganization of the city school system in the 2000s. Their sites are now vacant lots. My high school building (that my parents also went to school in!) is gone, replaced with a new one right behind its former location. I happened to be in town when they were tearing down the old building about ten years ago, and I have one of its yellow bricks as a souvenir.
The schools I went to, both in MN and OR are still there, though both have had additions/modifications done to them, Their continued existence is probably due to the fact that they are both in rural areas, and quite a distance from the nearest town

Ironically, This place, where we lived for all of an month or so in between the two homes mentioned in my post above, looks almost identical to how it looked when we lived there. It was a rental apartment in a building that had a gas station for a front. It was only to be short-term housing, a year or two, but events unfolded a bit faster than my folks had counted on. So the place I have the fewest memories of has changed the least. The gas station is still in business and the empty lot across the street is even still an empty lot. Go figure.
rental.png
 

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