Ah, Home, Sweet Home… Maybe.
Sorry, no Disneyland stories today. I needed a good exterior view of a home and that’s a photo I have.
What I do want to share is some thoughts on the places we choose to live. Oddly enough, I do have memories of all of the spots that I have lived over the years. As well as a few places where family lived from time to time. Okay, so I cheat a bit when thinking of Mainz-Gonsenheim in Germany, but in September of 2001 we did revisit the little place where my parents and I stayed in 1958 and the first part of 1959. Other than those first six months of all my years, I have been a California resident. I was reminded strongly of this during a recent visit with the Social Security Administration.
In those years, the San Francisco Bay Area, has been the place. If you haven’t been here, let me say that you can find all kinds of climates and landscapes within a few hours drive. Redwood rainforest, oceanside, prairie, coastal hills, urban cityscape, vineyards, and more. It is enough of a mix that you are hard pressed to find so many choices anywhere else.
Over that time, I have lived in most of the parts of the Bay Area. The only exception is the North Bay, but family, work and other interests have taken me there on more than a few occasions. It is somewhat scary, in that I know how to get around as much as I do. One of the interesting side effects of a career and a hobby that take in transportation information. Not that I have not gotten lost on occasion, but I manage to get back on track, or on route to a destination.
Looking back, the years were kind and the locations good to us as a family. We shared a lifestyle with other post war families of similar size. I have made some good friends over the time but wish I had kept in better touch with others.
In some ways, sad is a good word for some of those places. My mothers parents had a wonderful home in Sea Cliff in San Francisco. I know tastes in decorating change over time, but when the place was up for sale recently, I had a rude experience. The realtor put a website together to show off everything shiny and brand new. The memories that I fondly recall from many years enjoyed there were utterly crushed.
So little of what remains has any ties to those days. I had seen some of it first hand in driving by the home in the last few years, but could never have imagined what had taken place on the inside. (And no, I won’t link to the real estate web site. It’s just too depressing…)
I am a realist in understanding that new owners usually want to put their own spins on a place. That’s to be expected. Change is inevitable and usually for the best. Yet, one can hope that some respect for what came before still survives. Memories will suffice, but you wish that there was something more to tie you to a place. Yeah, I know. Terminal nostalgia. It’s not fatal, but it sure can tug at heartstrings when you look back.
Maybe that is the best we have of anywhere we live, work or play. Memories of the people (and pets) who made those places as special as they are. Indeed, a treasure worth having.