Sunday, March 17, 2013
You *Can* Go Home Again. Online.
This afternoon I walked past the elementary school where I attended 6th grade. Then strolled just a bit farther and stood in front of my junior high school.
Then I turned around and stepped past the same houses I passed while walking home from school at ages 11 - 14, until I reached my old home which happened to be the church where my dad pastored. (Yes, we lived inside a church those years. Long story.)
After that, I crossed the street to my grandparents' landlords' house (dear church members), but I couldn't step down the actual alleyway where my grandparents' cute cottage stood with two others, all backed by a country-like grassy lot, where beyond that, a house with a grapevine arbor still, to this day, sits all farm-like. In a very suburby-suburb.
Why couldn't I step down that alleyway? The Street View camera wouldn't let me. I even got a bit teary-eyed, for I needed to see their house! To maybe find them still there waiting at the green wood-framed screened door for me. But walking down that far proved impossible, for I was technically 3,000 miles away from my grandparents' home of 40 years ago and that camera was my only connection. And it stopped me.
So I chose the Birds Eye View, instead, and found their house that way, from above, like a bird. And stared awhile. And remembered so much... and came away with a full heart.
Again, oh wow.
As my title today says, you can go home again. Today. Online.
There are lots of ways to walk past the houses you knew as a child, but here, below, is how I did it. It's fast. Easy, though you may have to learn how to make the arrows take you where you wish to go:
Choose a street address you remember from your childhood and type it into your address bar (google it if you wish) then add a comma, then zillow.com.
What might likely happen--I'm making no promises to anybody--ha!--- is that a nearby house will pop up as being currently for sale or for sale at a previous time. Click on that address. Now, if there's a photo of the house for sale or a map, look above it where it says Street View. Click.
Then start walking. Remembering. Click on the arrow in the street. Look at houses you pass. Smile when you seem to pass invisibly through the occasional oncoming car. heh. Use the arrows in the top left corner to turn around or to view the houses on the other side of the street.
Amble. Go anywhere you wish. Find your childhood home or where your grandparents or friends lived or your former school. If there's only a parking lot there now or a newer home, just be thankful for your memories. And move on.
I so enjoyed my trip back to Sacramento--so little house-wise had changed and I almost felt like I'd returned to 1973. I even saw the walnut tree I used to climb on windy days so to imagine myself on a carnival ride, what with the swaying branches.
And I nearly felt like my grandparents still lived in that cute cottage-y place with the wooden screen door, the white picket fence and coffee cans of hens and chicken plants. But no.... they live in a much grander, lovelier home now. Yet I can't get anywhere near that home, online or otherwise. For me, that heavenly place is only reachable through my mind and heart.
But still, I do try sometimes to visit their new place in my thoughts. I always come away smiling from there, too.
Here's where I lived as a very dreamy-eyed 16-year-old. Click on Street View and you'll see my house, the church parsonage at the time. (The house was white with brick when I lived there and my bedroom was at the top left-hand side, painted an awesome apple green.) I very, very often walked around this pretty neighborhood (to the left only!) and on up to the cemetery then through there to the city library. :)
Oh my! Over an hour later I've seen a total of 6 (!) houses I lived in as a child and teenager and 3 which Tom, Naomi and I shared together. Fun!