You Can Never Go Home, but You Can Drive By It
October 10, 2017 6:58am CST
Plenty of people move away from their home towns as time goes by. Some do it to develop their careers, while others just want to get away from bad memories or expand their horizons. Then there are those who never stray far from "home," and I'm one of them. The photo shows the house I grew up in and lived in until I moved out in 1972 to get married and start a family. Since then, I've moved quite a few times, but it's always been within a 20-mile radius of that street. If you think that the building looks a lot like the ones below it, that's no accident. It, along with nine others just like it, were built around the time of the Second World War and came to be known as the Ten Commandments. While I have no idea how they got the name or who christened them so, I do know that the area was very dense with Franco-American Catholics, and this street ran behind the church that served the town's largest parish. Called "Les Dix Commandements" in French, the buildings started out their lives each housing four small apartments, two up, and two down. My parents were living on the second floor of what was then either the 8th or the 9th "Commandment," but after I was born in 1950, they moved to the first-floor (right) apartment in the next building up from that. And to complicate matters further, when the buildings were being sold off, most of the new owners transformed them into duplexes of just two side-by-side units. When, in 1955, a new landlords took over the one my parents had first lived in, we moved back there and occupied the entire left side. After I moved out, my parents continued to live there until not long after my father's death in 1981, when my mother moved to a senior housing complex not far from there. To this day, I still drive by the place. And despite some changes, it still looks pretty much the same. Sometimes, I see an elderly lady sitting on the enclosed front porch in the exact same spot I once sat in to read or just watch the traffic go by. Most, if not all, of the street's inhabitants are also long gone now, but my memories of those days haven't, and I still recall some of their names. I've toyed with the idea of stopping to talk to that woman and explaining to her that I grew up there. I may do that someday, or then again, I may not. The past is the past and usually best left there, and I'm not sure if walking through there might not be a little too melancholy. So I'll just continue to smile whenever I drive by there, and enjoy the memory of how the world looked from that front porch during what was a much simpler time, one that I will forever miss. Photo is mine.
17 people like this
• United States
I often drive by my grandmother's home. It will always be her home although several families have moved in and out of the house since it was sold many years ago. I have dreamed about walking through the house. I can still hear the old floors creak when you walk in certain spots.
4 people like this
That's a cute name for that row of homes. I always lived within a 10 mile radius of our family farm where I grew up. Last spring we moved about 90 minutes away, and a lot further then a 10 mile radius. We can no longer take a quick little detour and drive by some of the homes that my husband and I have owned over the years, but we've got those memories tucked away along with some photos in albums.
• Saco, Maine
I don't have a lot of photos of those times, so I took this one awhile back while driving by. When I lived there, the house had pale green asbestos shingles and dark green trim. I have to admit that the siding, although plastic, does look a lot better.
I moved far away from where I lived as a child. I was born in the south-east corner of the country, then moved to the north-west corner and now I live in the south. Some years ago I made a stop-over in the town of my youth, i.e., in the north-west. I passed the house where we lived and decided to ring the bell. Obviously, I made a trustworthy impression on the woman who opened. When I told her who I was, she asked me in and we chatted for a while. I can recommend this!
• Bunbury, Australia
We have moved a lot during our lifetime and some places have been hard to leave. I've found that driving back past that one it seems it isn't as loved as when I lived there. It needs painting, the garden looks overgrown and neglected and it made me sad. You're right. Sometimes the past is best just left alone.
• Saco, Maine
So true. After selling the first house I owned with my ex, it took me nearly 10 years to be able to drive by it again. It was a wreck, all the trees I'd planted there had been cut down, and it was sad to see. But by that time, I'd bought and lived in a much better place in the woods. I hated leaving that one even more, so I've not been by it at all. And once I learned that the new owner cut down about 50% of the trees there, that sealed it for me. I never will.
• Bunbury, Australia
@Raelove I loved our farm but of course when I married we moved away and eventually the farm was sold to my cousin. I managed to avoid going there for a number of years but eventually I took Mum out to see the boab tree that she had planted. So much had changed I hardly recognised the place so it didn't hurt nearly as much as I'd feared. Old sheds had been taken down, the distance between the windmill and the house seemed wrong - all sorts of things no longer fitted my mental picture.
That was quite a story. I wonder what she would say and if she spoke English. After the riots in Minneapolis drove my parents and others off of the where I grew up I used to drive by my original house where I started my life and would sit and stare at it. I do not remember if I went up to the door and asked if I could see the inside and talk to the ones that moved in there.
• United States
Back a few yrs ago when I was in IL I had to stop and look at 2 of the houses I last lived in there. I have not lived there since the 80s, but it was interesting to see the homes and remember. One of them a lot of Bad memories took place but since seeing it with my husband it don't have the Bad vibes and memories like it used too.