April 28, 2008

You Can't Go Home Again

KALAMAZOO, Mich., Apr. 26 -- SO ON MY DRIVE between Grand Rapids and Fort Wayne, I briefly stopped in my hometown to grab lunch and see the old neighborhood and the house where I grew up. A few brief points: although many houses seemed to be for sale, I saw some impressive new construction -- at least to me -- and a lot of the old landmarks that I knew grewing up were still there. The neighborhood in which I grew up was also much the same.

Now, the particular neighborhood in which I grew up -- and the residential streets to the east of it -- were nice places to live. Much of this had to do with the fact they were actual neighborhoods; you know, those mythical places where people who live in adjoining homes actually know each other and socialize. Plus, in the springtime and the fall, they were absolutely beautiful. When I drove along the tree-lined streets, it was an amazingly glorious sight -- the trees were in bloom and the leaves were coming out and the sun was shining. Beautiful.

Then I drove by my old house and said:

"Dear GOD -- what have they done?!"

To the new owners' credit, the house is not much changed from how it was when I grew up (at least from the outside) and given my nostalgia for the place, it is no surprise I would disapprove of any changes. After all, these things are matters of personal preference. Also, it was the end of April and I am sure it will look much better come summer.

But still. They've got this hideous plant -- I don't know what it is, but it looks like a goddamn truffula tree -- in the front yard. It's near the sidewalk leading to the front porch, from what I could tell from the street. Also, the entranceway from the side porch into the garage has been enclosed and it has these godawful octagonal windows -- I hate octagonal windows -- and if you ask me that takes away from the colonial-style architecture of the house. I was so stunned that I didn't even make the drive over to Simon From Jersey's old house to see how it stood up, and instead went to get lunch down on Stadium Drive.

I suppose the long and short of it comes down to this: they weren't kidding when they said you can't go home again.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at April 28, 2008 11:55 PM | TrackBack
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