The Old House on Memory Lane

I’ve always felt that selling a house and moving out of it was similar to ending a relationship. You are basically telling the house you don’t want it to be part of you life anymore. Who can forget the last moment when the moving truck pulls away and it’s time for you to leave the house for the last time? You get in your car to drive away and you are afraid to look back for the last time because if you do you’ll wonder, in a flurry of emotions if you’ve made the right choice. Maybe selling the house wasn’t your choice though.

Thirty eight years later, I still remember the day we said goodbye to and drove away from the house in Buffalo, New York where I spent the first decade of my life. There was nothing wrong with the house, my parents simply wanted to change careers and live in a different city in another state. So, we sold the house and moved away.

It was a great house. Built in 1920, it was the only house of it’s architecture on the street. It was custom designed for a physician so he could have his practice in his home. The downstairs floor was for the physician, his family and the practice. The upstairs was a mini apartment for his elderly parents. The rooms in the house of course changed as owners changed though.

If you are looking at the house from the street; The front room of the house had a sun room. It had a nice breeze in the summer but was drafty in the winter. After the sunroom was the living room. After the living room the dining room was on the left and the kitchen on the right. Behind the dining room was a bathroom and spare bedroom. Behind the kitchen was a pantry and an extra room that we had a refrigerator and we kids used as our play room where our toys were. The main room of the basement was finished with knotty pine walls and a half bath. The upstairs front bedroom belonged to my parents. My brothers’ bedroom was on the left, my bedroom on the right. There was a bathroom with a claw foot bathtub and my grandmother’s bedroom was in the back of the house. The back yard had my mom’s garden, a grape vine and a matching two car garage.

Every room of that house had memories that only the family that lived there would know. Memories that last a life time. Memories that you don’t think about but when they come back to you, you just pause in silence so that you can experience them again.

Memories light the corners of my mind

Misty water-colored memories of the way we were

Scattered pictures of the smiles we left behind

Smiles we gave to one another for the way we were

Can it be that it was all so simple then

Or has time rewritten every line

If we had the chance to do it all again

Tell me, would we?

Could we?

Memories may be beautiful and yet

What’s too painful to remember

We simply choose to forget

So it’s the laughter we will remember

Whenever we remember

The way we were

The way we were

I’m sure if my brother reads this he’s going to call me a sap who’s stuck in the 1970’s, BUT, my dad is a big Barbra Streisand fan and that’s a song I remember from living in that house, during the 1970’s.

We still have family in Buffalo, even my brother lives there again. We’ve visited from time to time over the years. Sometimes we’d drive by the house, sometimes not. The last time I was there was 4 years ago. My mission was to surprise my brother in front of that old house for his birthday. Once again, the house was part of our lives if only for a moment.

The house has been in my subconscious mind more so lately. It’s up for sale again and my parents are interested in buying it. My husband and I had lunch with my parents on Saturday. My dad proudly showed my husband the pictures of the house that were listed on the realtor website. As my dad went through each room with my husband, it occurred to me that my dad still remembers every nook and cranny of that house because he and mom did so much work to it through their late 20’s, early 30’s.

Memories I hadn’t thought about in years returned to me as I listened to my dad tell my husband about the house. The stairwell where my foot stuck to the hardwood steps and I gashed my chin, needing stitches. The bedroom window that I looked out one night and convinced my little brother that a cluster of stars was indeed Santa and his sleigh. The stairwell that when my brother was a baby and my mom would carry him upstairs to bed, he’d wait until they reached the top to throw his bottle, spilling milk everywhere. The dining room where we ate sauce on Sundays… yes we are Sicilian. The living room where my dad and his friend played the piano and where I used to watch that show EMERGENCY with my friend and then we’d throw my dolls on the floor into an accident scene and save their lives with my Fisher Price Medical Kit. (Who knew I’d become an ER nurse!). The Sunroom where my brother wrote on the wall with a big black crayon minutes before my dad got home from work. The fireplace where a bird flew in during a snow storm and crapped on the walls. The sun room my dad had his stereo and it it always played awesome music like the Eagles, The Bee-Gees, Bob Segar and the Silver Bullet Band, The Beatles, Paul McCartney, Chicago, Linda Ronstadt, Bette Midler, Barbra Streisand, Motown, Fleetwood Mac, The Charlie Daniels Band and too many more to count. My love of 70’s music was born in that house because, well it was the 1970’s. The kitchen that my grandma baked the most beautiful pies in. The playroom that my brothers and I played in and beat each other up in. The spare room where over night guests stayed. The backyard that held our swing set. The garage door that we’d bounce balls against. So many rooms, so many memories. It was a great house with so much potential. As an adult, I’d buy it in a heartbeat.

Hopefully I’ll be able to bring my children into the house some day to show them where I lived. I’m a firm believer in “it will happen if it’s meant to be. The same goes with buying a car or house. If it’s meant to be, my parents will own that house once again.

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