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Sunday, July 7, 2013

Sentimental Journey Home

How often do you get to return to the house you grew up in after you have moved away and see it inside for the first time in 43 years?



I was given that chance last Weds in my hometown in Austin, Minnesota.  I moved away in 1970, but never forgot where I came from. I am the fourth generation to be born in Austin in my family. It's a lovely town!

Things had changed in the house and neighborhood since 1970, but the basement was the same as we left it, except for a wall color change. There was graffiti on the laundry room walls from my sister, Dad and brother in 1967 and 1968 still there!  Our dog Flicka's scratch marks from jumping on the laundry room door were still etched in there from 1968!

Dad's old yukky shower in the basement was still there!  Mom refused to clean it back in the 1960's.  I'd die if I had to shower in there today!

And, then there was my old bedroom, smaller than I remember and updated a little, but the wood flooring was restored like when I lived there after years of carpet was covering it from former owners. The new owner is updating much of the house and making changes.

Dad changing my little brother in 1968

Same spot today in 2013!


1968 Dad and I in the corner in the living room

Same corner in 2013

There were many dinners and goodbyes for my family in my hometown from folks who were really going to miss us. I remember moving day in January 1970 for Denver, Colorado. The house was empty, like someone had stolen everything. We bade goodbye to my grandparents, and I remember driving away and hearing them sobbing. It was heartbreaking.

The memories poured out in my mind seeing my house for the first time since January 1970. The birthdays, Christmases, the pets, the siblings, the parents, the grandparents.

The owner has remodeled the living room and taken out a wall between the formal dining room and kitchen to make it open concept. It was strange seeing the wall gone, the only thing that bothered me.

But, lots of memories in that kitchen!

1969 Mom, little bro, sis Julie and I making Christmas cookies

Same kitchen, changed slightly from blonde woodwork and painted ugly green by former owner 2013. New owner is trying to strip the paint off to make them blonde again!

Our house in 1970

Dodger and I at my old house in 2013!

They say you cannot go back, but this trip was healing for me, as I have dreamed about my old house since we left in 1970.  It was good to see the house again, and see how we lived in the 1960's here, and how small everything had gotten. When you are a kid, things look huge in your world and that is how you remember them.


I did come away with this: I have grown as a person and have been shaped by the places and people I have met since I left here at age 6. My late Mother would always ask "I wonder what life would have been like if we had stayed in Austin." Our lives would have been different that is for sure, but we wouldn't have been enriched with living around the country and experiencing hardship, joys, people, and places to shape who we are today.  Who knows?

Some people are lucky to live in one place all their lives, I always felt after moving around the country 6 times in 15 years.

But, it was a sentimental journey, a sentimental journey home!

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