Sunday, August 17, 2008

The home I grew up in

I grew up here.
This is the home where old famous people used to pay their visits. Henry Ford. Thomas Edison. Jack London. Luther Burbank.

It was built in 1850 by John Hendley who became a doctor in early Santa Rosa.

When I was nine years old and moved into this house, I automatically believed that the reason I lived in such an old estate was because I was going to be famous as well and people from all over the world would come to my childhood home and tour it.

It didn't hurt that my childhood home was decorated in antiques.
I ate my french toast here every morning. And I enjoyed hamburger helper casseroles for dinner nearly every night. And later, in the early 1990s, I learned to hang wallpaper in this room.

I think it was a year after we moved in, when an old lady and her son who was also very old, drove up our driveway one morning. They walked up to our door and in her thin, frail voice told us that she grew up in this house from 1898 - 1908 and before she died, her wish was to come back and visit her childhood home. And she did. She came from the state of Washington. She gave us a photo of the front of the home from 1906.

I remember her eyes danced as she walked through the different rooms remembering. In the library, she paused for a moment and said that she had signed her name from a diamond on one of the window panes as she stood out on the cellar door. She leaned and walked closer to the window and there it was. Her signature still remains there with the date 1908. Her eyes welled up in tears as she pressed her fingers against her childhood signature.

A few years later, another woman drove up the driveway and knocked on our door. She lived in our house in the 1930s. She told stories of her horse named Red who she kept down in the stables where our horses were then. The sign RED was still hanging up in the stable and we gave it to her.

We had horses, rabbits, ducks, geese, sheep, a goat and a pig and numerous dogs and cat at this house. We rode our honda 50 and honda 70 mini bikes around this property and it really was a wonderful home to grow up in.

I moved away when I was 19 but I actually returned and lived here five years ago for a couple of months in between selling my town house and moving into the home I live in now. I slept in the same twin bed I slept in as a child, though now in a different bedroom; the mattress so old that it was old when I slept in it as a child. My lower back hurt each morning from awakening. But, I am grateful for those few months living back with my mother and returning back to my roots.

Its an enchanted home.

My mother still lives here and we come here for dinners there at least every 10 days.

And one day, (regretfully) and hopefully, it will be a long, long time into the future, before the house will become empty and the lights will turn off for the last time, and I can tell you when that happens, I won't be able to bear to ever drive near this home again. My heart couldn't bare it. It is my home. My family. My life. Who I am and what I am is because of this house and what happened in these walls as a child. And someday when it becomes empty... my heart will break into a million pieces.

Welcome to my childhood home. If you come to visit me, I'll take you here. You'll love my mother and I promise you an experience you won't forget easily.

I just wish I had another 50 years to enjoy it. And maybe I will.

PS: My bedroom windows growing up was the two windows to the right of the house and the one window on the side of the house upstairs.


Kate said...

A cousin and I were just emailing about our parents and how 3 or 4 lived in only 2 homes their entire lives. My mom won't go near the home we shared with my paternal grandmother - it's now businesses and the pain is too much. But I went over and told them stories about the place so the owners would know how much it was lived in and loved. It was huge when I was a kid; not so much now. I used to want to buy it back and give it to my parents. That's my impractical side working overtime!

doodlegirl said...

That is so endearing of you kate wishing you could buy the house back! Just before this house, we lived in another house for a few years and it is now a law office. I stopped in there one time and told them I used to live there. It was so strange seeing the bedrooms as offices but the bathroom is nearly the same. And, I can so totally relate when you said, "It was huge when I was a kid; not so much now.." Funny how we see things through our child eyes.

danny said...

Wow that is awesome to live among all that history! Don't worry, that will Always be your home. I remember the house I grew up in, I still have dreams that take place there, so in that sense, the house will always be a part of you.

Doodlestreet said...

Oh my gosh, I should have got out of the car and went around to this side of the house, because I don't remember this view when we drove up last year!! It was so fun to imagine you as a little girl running around the yard playing and going up through the doorway, and then up further to your little room. And look at all the beautiful windows to that room! So much light!

We had a house in Seattle that we lived in for quite some time. I always consider that our 'family home' even though we moved around a lot after that. I often wonder if some of the little marks we made are still there. One time, I stood on the very edge/corner of my bed and jumped up and down as high as I could, then flung myself, feet over head to the other corner. It was like a trampoline! all best laid plans, I missed once! Oops! And BAM! My heel rammed into the wall! I overshot it! I jumped up quickly (freaked out and knew I was in trouble), and there in the drywall was a perfect circular impression of the heel of my foot! (oh crud).

I hung a poster over it.

Rayne said...

What a beautiful home and how fortunate you were to grow up in a home with so much history and so many warm and beautiful memories attached to it.
This entry was written so well I yearn to go see the house for myself.

Michele said...


Wow, your home is beautiful!

violetismycolor said...

I feel the same way about a couple of the houses I lived in while growing up. But the house I lived in from birth to age 12 is gone and the place is now full of warehouses. It is sad to drive by...

platitudinal said...

The house is enchanting! I cannot imagine you growing up in any other place :)