Monday, August 25, 2014

not scorched but scoured

Marc took the boys home Saturday while I was working at the antique store. He needed to go by a hardware store (the one here closes at noon) so he went inside the Loop to the neighborhood store where we shopped when we lived in the city. Afterwards he drove by the old homestead.

This is what he saw:

Almost 40 years of living. Wiped. Off the. Fucking. Face. Of the. Earth. With one exception...the magnolia tree we planted is still there.

Even the sidewalk we wrote in when the cement was still wet is gone.

So many plants I couldn't amazing bougainvillea, yellow angel trumpet (got cuttings), hummingbird bush, crepe myrtle, camphor tree, plumbagos, yesterday today and tomorrow (dug up some), ferns (dug up two), a large star of india (dug up a small one), flowering vines (dug up two), banana trees (dug up some), a heritage rose (dug up two small ones where the branches took root, one of which has already bloomed a single flower), aspidistra (got some), turk's cap (dug some up)... I think I got all the bulbs of various kinds and all the ginger. I got the mexican bird of paradise and the beauty berry and they are doing well. Others, like the star of india and the yesterday, today, and tomorrow, the jury is still out. And I'm sorry about all the little creatures who lost their homes.

Here's a little pictorial of the house over the years.

Late 1970s when we were first living in the house. I bought it in 1975 and the kids were born in 1977 and 1979. This might be pre-kids. The picture was in color but it had turned pink. Looks better as black and white.

Mid-80s. I can't tell how old Sarah is there, maybe 8 which would make this 1985.

2003. By now Sarah and her family were living next door and we had moved the turtle from the back yard to the front. I'd gotten rid of most the grass. We had removed the skirt to have the house leveled which turned out to be a big mistake and we never got around to putting the skirt back on.

2003. The view from the kid's driveway and the path the grandkids took to our door.

Also in 2003, we had to rebuild the shop as termites had eaten up a lot of the framing. We did this one wall at a time, propping up the roof as we went. That's when we moved the sandblast room out of the shop and onto the driveway. Once we had all four walls framed, we tore off the metal roofing and replaced a good deal of the roof boards. Then we put on all new metal siding, the insulated and sheetrocked the inside. We did it all ourselves, he and I. In this picture, we have just finished re-cladding the shop and roof but not done any of the interior work yet. This is the end that faced the little back yard. The front faced the driveway.

2012. We had been moved out for two years, coming in only to work which wasn't often and the house was showing the neglect. Our son and Daughter-in-law moved in and revived it a bit but they also took out the front flower bed which didn't have all that much in it since we had taken everything to the country.

2014. We sold the property.

This is what it looked like from the street the last time I saw it. Well, except for the torn up driveway where they disconnected the house from the main sewer line.

Marc asked me last night if seeing the picture made me sad. And yeah, a little maybe. Mostly it was just a shock even though I knew ultimately it would be torn down.

It's mostly weird that after 64 years I no longer have a home in Houston. Not that I want to live there again but I always had a base of operations when I was there.

I have bigger fish to fry now with the new shop than to dwell on what I let go.


  1. it is hard to take, i am certain. so many memories of life and hard work, there.

  2. Wow, Ellen. I don't know if I could be as good at letting as you are. I'm so glad you got so many cuttings and rootings. So glad. That's real life and you are keeping it alive and may it all thrive where you are now.

  3. We still drive by the house in the city where we raised our kids. Happily, it hasn't changed too much. Like you, I have no desire to go back, but still. . . .
    Seeing that empty lot must have been wrenching.

  4. One last trip down memory lane and set the book aside to return from time to time. Lots of good memories, and now your grands can tell their kids "It was really cool here when our house was next to grandma's and grandpa's."

  5. A little reminiscent of the house in Briar Hollow, no?

  6. Might make you a little sad, but no one can take those memories away. Onward ......

    I have been strolling down memory lane with my dad on my visits. I am so happy to be able to spend this time with him, but it is so hard and so sad.

  7. All those plants would have been hard to give up.

  8. That’s devastating :(

    At least the wonderful memories live on.

  9. I can understand how you feel about this. It’s bad enough when you move on and somebody does things to your house which you would never have done yourselves but when it gets totally eradicated like this that must be hard.

    Be happy that you have a new place to love and make into your own.

  10. I once lived in a divey place in a snooty area. Last year when I took a trip down memory lane, I couldn't find it. Because it had been leveled. Just grass.

  11. Thirty years ago we were renovating the porch on our house, turning it into a room that could be heated. A woman walked by, came up the driveway, and smiled when she said she had once lived in our house. That was all - she just wanted to connect for a moment. Your photo journal of your house is similar to the photos we have of our house over the years. And you're right about focusing on life now instead of what's been let go, which seems to be a lesson I need to learn over and over again.

  12. Oh ouch. I'm sorry for the shocking sight. I can only imagine how that must feel. Hang onto the wonderful memories you have.. those can't be razed.


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