>Be Careful Little Eyes What You See…
>Picture, if you will, a little girl of three. She’s clothed in a hand-knitted cream colored sweater and matching mini-skirt. Her hair is the color of flax, as thin as the wind. She’s standing in front of a red door, her hand poised as though she’s going to knock. That was our family’s Christmas card circa 1970. I lived in that house (which cost my parents roughly $20,000) for a little over three years and any memories I do have are more likely based on pictures. Although there is one that was triggered by the smell of bourbon in my adult years. Sadly, it jogged a memory of what my baby sitter’s mother smelled of.
But this is not a sad tale of an alcoholic neighbor. Rather, it is my yearning to see that little red house with the white picket fence (really!) to which I was brought home in the late 60s. Since I’ve never been back as an adult, I can only imagine that it has switched owners numerous times. Perhaps the red paint’s been replaced with a more suitable tan or brown. The giant maple that grandstanded not only me but my father might remain. I dream. I envision.
Well, today I had to retrieve my birth certificate from my safe deposit box and as I read over the familiar information, my parents’ names, birth cities, etc., I saw my original address. Hm…could I find it on the Internet? I thought to myself with a bubble of excitement.
I came home to an empty house (remember…everyone is at basketball these days) and clicked on Google, then typed in my address. That little bubble of excitement grew as my address popped up as a listed house for sale! What were the odds?! I was going to see the house of my baby-hood with such little effort after all these years of wondering, pining, dreaming.
And then the picture appeared: a newly constructed stucco house, beige not red, no picket white fence, no maple tree. Instead, there stood a fountain in the circular driveway. IT SOLD LAST FALL FOR OVER A MILLION DOLLARS!! Oh…Ugh…my heart hurt. Maybe it was a mistake. I double checked the address. Yup. Same address. My little house had been torn down.
I feel like a little piece of me disappeared. Now, I’m not talking psychotic break or even a need to call to a therapist. But something inside me shifted. Loss. A part of my life is gone. Forever.
This must’ve been what my little neighbor-boy felt (who’s now 18!) 12 years ago as we constructed our house on the empty lot beside his. With a down-cast expression, I remember him saying, “I used to cut through your yard to go home after I got off the bus.” Loss.
The Internet, for all its convenience, sometimes offers us things we shouldn’t see. The obvious: porn, violence, slander on social networks. But there are the small things, too. I hope the memory of that fancy new house fades. To me, my house of Wildwood Lane will always be the red house with the white picket fence…oh, and in front stands a little, blond girl knocking at the door.