The first anemones of spring

Yesterday, as I was outside taking the photograph for the previous post, I noticed a large blue pick-up slowly driving by. The two men inside were eyeing our house and talking quietly.

When we first moved in, it made me uneasy how often people would walk by, and sometimes stop, to look at our house. Not to mention the women who walked right into our yard, supposedly to admire the flowers. I once caught a man taking pictures from his car and then quickly drove away when he caught me looking back at him. I’m not saying our house is without charm, but it’s mostly just a small grey rectangle box. It’s distinctive saving grace is in the petite front porch with white railing. That little bit of architectural detail makes a big difference, especially accented by the beautiful maple tree, rhododendrons, and rose bushes.

Anyway, these guys in the blue truck also stopped, and one of the men called out to me. At first, I thought they might be lost and just need directions, but it turns out that the driver, Mike White, actually grew up in the same house as a kid. He was in the neighborhood and thought he’d drive by. Apparently he hadn’t see the house in maybe 30 years, and was amazed at the changes.

For example, the little porch wasn’t there when he was a boy. He slept in the back bedroom, while his brother slept in what is now our office. Which means that the garage had been converted over 30 years ago. He remembered the cracked driveway (from the decaying roots of an old tree), how the house used to have old windows and cedar shake siding (the back still does), and how the patio used to be a cement slab, before we built our wooden deck. It was neat to hear him reminisce, and how he remembered many of our older neighbors, including some gossip (which would be inappropriate for me to repeat here). It was really something. I only wish I had been more prepared, with maybe a coat (I was freezing) and shoes other than house slippers.

That is the second inhabitant of our house that we’ve met. The first being the previous owners, a couple with their young baby, dog and cat, who didn’t do much to upkeep the house. We also know from a neighbor that the little porch was added by two very nice “lesbian ladies” that used to live here. And that at one time four young girls used to play in the attic above the garage. They wrote their names in pencil on a rafter: 1. Carol 2. Sandra 3. Hester and 4. Judy (last names not as legible), with the corresponding numbers surrounded by a hand-drawn four leaf clover.

So many stories in this one little house, some that we’ll never know. It makes me smile to think that now we’re a part of it’s history, too.


5 Responses to “Nostalgia”

  1. 1 Sarah Jackson March 7, 2008 at 6:53 pm

    I love the history of houses. When we lived in Seattle, we owned Jeff’s grandparents’ old house. He had known most of the neighbors for his whole life, and oh the stories they would tell of shocking behavior and parties and sneaking around.

    We’ll sometimes drive by our old home when we’re visiting and remember. So much history lived in that one space, so many memories and ghosts hiding in the rafters and the corners. And so much love and laughter that makes us smile every time we see it.

  2. 2 puremotif March 8, 2008 at 8:06 am

    This is so kind of weird but also heartwarming. We have tons of traffic by our house and when we first moved in, people would look a lot because the house had been empty for so long and has a ton of history.

  3. 3 pricklypearbloom March 10, 2008 at 6:22 am

    It’s interesting thinking about or even knowing the history of the place that is your home, where you spend so much time. I love hearing that stuff.

  4. 4 handmadejulz March 11, 2008 at 11:16 pm

    I love your blog! you have great posts! your photos are beautiful too. i found you while searching for flowers in sept. at mt. hood. i’m getting married near there that month. i’m a graphic designer living in portland, that quit my job last year too! isn’t the freedom a wonderful thing?

  5. 5 painted fish studio March 12, 2008 at 11:59 am

    i occasionally drive by the home we lived in until i was 4. we left minneapolis for a rural area then, but now as an adult i’m back in minneapolis. i remember the gorgeous woodwork, the wood floors, the fireplace of the old little house on lyndale avenue. i sometimes wonder if the current owners would think i’m a nut if i showed up at their front door wanting to take a peek inside.

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