Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Home sweet gone

Who ever said you can't go home hit the nail on the head. You can try, but you won't find who, what or where you're looking for.

"Home" hasn't been the same for me since Dec. 31, 2004. My grandmother was still in the same house I grew up in, but there was a hole where my mother should have been.

No woman in her 90s should be living alone, particularly in a neighborhood that was graying and going downhill. A few years ago, my aunt sold her house and my grandmother's and found a townhouse that would fit both of them - mainly less stairs for Nana to negotiate. But it wasn't in my hometown, so all of our visits "home" wouldn't be to the place I knew for 18 years.

With a "For Sale" sign looming, I went back to the house to say goodbye. It was smaller than I remembered. I stood in the living room and bawled. It hurt that my children would never be able to go back to where Mommy was a little girl. It hurt that I couldn't come back and find Mom and Nana waiting for me; one succumbed to cancer, the other to the creeping shadow of old age. I was mourning Mom all over again.

The house sold quickly to a young couple and I was hopeful that they would fix it up and call it home for a long time to come.

I was wrong. It's on the market again.

From the looks of the pictures online, the owner took down the paneling in the dining room and painted over it in the living room. The shutters are down, replaced with new curtains. I didn't recognize my bedroom because the last I saw it, it had pale pink walls (a leftover from the five minutes when I was 10 that I actually liked pink) and fugly green carpet Nana picked out after I moved out. The other bedrooms got fresh coats of paint as well.

It's one of three houses on the block for sale and there are countless more in the neighborhood. I'd like to think that this time someone will fall in love with the house and make it their forever home.

I doubt it. Call me a cynic.

I call it loss of innocence. A loss of "home."

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