Z is for… Ze end

The house that a lot of this month’s stories took place in — my grandparents’ house — no longer exists. Or rather the house itself still exists, the shell of it remains, but the inside is completely different.

One of my biggest regrets was going to see it as it was being gutted. I was in my late teens by that point, and well out of childhood, but seeing the kitchen torn out, the tiles broken, the inside a ruin, was a shock. It felt like someone had abruptly jerked me out what remained of my childhood and kicked me out into the cold.

I really wish that I didn’t have the memory of how sad and forlorn it looked, all empty of furniture and people, and all broken up inside.

One thing did make me smile: in the middle of all the destruction a wall remained with large white circles where the paint had been picked. The paint was terracotta in colour, and as a young child I had surreptitiously picked a little crack every time I went past that wall (which was every day since it was at the bottom of the staircase). Once I noticed that I was picking the crack into a circle, I created more circles, and by the time I was old enough to know my numbers, I took a green crayon and numbered the circles to arrange them by size.

My grandparents hadn’t minded my casual vandalism. They never repainted the wall and even as the house was being gutted and renovated, it remained with my circles and my childish numbers. It was a nice little metaphor for the enduring magic of childhood.

As I left the house, it occurred to me that the place where I spent a large chunk of said magical childhood now only existed in my memory. It was an awfully sad thought.

So it’s been nice to bring the old place back to life for a little while. I guess now it exists in my memory, on this blog, and in a little bit of all your imaginations, since you gave the stories life by reading them. And that, is a very wonderful thing — so thank you for reading.

 

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41 thoughts on “Z is for… Ze end

  1. That’s lovely, Celine – firmer homes all hold bittersweet memories for me. My late child/teen home was demolished a few years ago, and it’s discombobulating to visit my hometown and see emptiness where my house once stood.

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      • The high school bought the property fir the land. Right now all Dad’s beautiful trees are still standing, and Dad can still see the old property from the balcony of his condo. As long as he gies before the trees, all is good 🌸

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      • He did – over 100 varieties of pines, red buds, maples as well as fruit trees. We tell him that’s his legacy – we loved living among so many beautiful trees. My sister and brother who live in Michigan have each transplanted some of Dad’s trees to their yards. I have some bricks that were part of the exterior of our home (very old farmhouse).

        Thanks for asking, Celine .😍

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      • Oh my, that’s amazing! What a legacy!!! and how wonderful to think that there will be kids from that school no doubt playing among them. Trees are so amazing when you’re a kid, aren’t they? I spent so much time with my brothers and cousin making forts and climbing and wiling away the days among the trees. It must have been a magical place to grow up in 🙂 He must be really proud of having created that, no wonder your sister and brother took some of the trees with them.

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  2. And CONGRATULATIONS on another successful, entertaining and heartfelt journey through A to Z. I’m very happy you have been back in the blogging community this month 🌸🌷💐

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  3. Congrats on a fine job with the A-to-Z challenge, it was fun to follow along. As for former houses, I have seen mine from the outside, and that’s close enough. I can’t imagine the insides without the people around whom my memories are formed.

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    • Ah bon? Oups, ca je ne m’en rappelle pas. Mais comme on a vu avec N, j’ai toujours raison, donc c’est pour ca que j’ai oublie qu’ils m’avaient confrontee….C’est quand meme marrant qu’ils n’aient jamais repeint le mur!

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  4. Oh, Celine, you nearly stole a tear from me.
    I think one of the hardest things growing up – and getting old – is seeing the things, the places and the people you love go away.

    Thanks so much for this wonderful month, I enjoyed it greatly. And congratulation on finishing the challege – which, I know, was particularly challenging for you 😉

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    • Thank you so much Sarah, you’ve been such a wonderful and dedicated commentator, it’s been lovely hearing from you during this challenge! Yes, this April was pretty far from ideal as far A to Z goes, but at least I’ve made it over the finish line 🙂

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  5. How amazing that you made a circle Celine and that it remained! It’s been great connecting with you over this series, and I’ve so enjoyed the ones I read …

    Congrats on getting over the finish line … 🙂

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  6. Hi Celine — As Susan said, amazing that the circles remained. My grandparents’ house, where I felt so secure as a child, still stands, about an hour from where I live now. I have wanted to go there and knock on the present owners’ door to ask if I can come in, but my memories are so happy that I wonder if I they would be shattered when I see the interior changes they have made. I am tempted, though.

    A few years ago a woman pulled up in front of my house when I was sitting on the front porch. She said, “I grew up here” (in the ’40s and ’50s while I was at my grandparents’ house). So I brought her inside and gave her the tour. It was interesting, because she told me all the changes her father had made to the house, built in 1894. So, it gave me some insight and historical knowledge about the house and what the people were like who lived here before me.

    I’m so glad to have met you on the A-Zs, and congratulations for making it through. I want to come back and read more of your stories now that I have the time to catch up.

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    • I can totally understand the temptation, but sometimes not knowing is better. Then again that was lovely that you gave that woman a tour of your house and that she told you a little about its history. I guess seeing that another family lives in the house and is loving it and taking care of it would be quite wonderful. I think that’s the main difference, seeing the house provide new memories to a new family, versus seeing it being torn down.

      It was lovely to meet you in the A-Zs, I also have so much to catch up on your blog, but May will be good for that now that there’s a less hectic posting schedule 🙂

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  7. This is so beautifully captured, this last post! Thank goodness for the ability to relive memories, and when you write them down, they’re captured forever. 🙂

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  8. I’ve been away from blogging for a while so I’m sorry I wasn’t able to comment sooner on your blog. I’ve loved reading these recent posts. The image of the wall where you picked the plaster remaining is so strong, even if in the end, it was demolished as well. I felt sad when my grandparents’ house was demolished as well but then I thought that tat least no one else will have memories there – it was just for us.

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    • That’s a really lovely way of looking at it actually! In that respect it makes that little more special 🙂

      Oh no need to apologise at all, I’ve been away from blogging myself for a while, I threw myself back in the deep end by returning for the A to Z challenge but it was fun. Anyway, welcome back to blogging! 🙂

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  9. I truly believe that a house well-lived in is ‘alive,’ in some sense. I know that when I left my house in SF bay area that we four had lived in for 16 years, I had to say goodbye to every corner, every crevice, every memory. You have said your goodbyes beautifully in your blog. In many different ways, your grandparents’ house is still alive.

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    • Yes, that’s kind of the way I look at it 🙂 And that’s a lovely thought!
      I was in San Fran recently and absolutely loved it. It’s a wonderful city and the houses are gorgeous! You must have loved living there.

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  10. That’s so sad about the house. My grandmother’s house was demolished after she passed so the neighboring fire station could expand onto the property. Even though it was so many years ago, it still gives me a touch of sadness to drive down that street where the house is no more.
    I very much enjoyed all of your stories. I’m on the A to Z Road Trip, catching up on all the blog posts I missed last month. Congratulations on reaching Z!

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  11. I remember when I went back to see my childhood home from the outside, and it had been renovated. It was quite a shock to see the changes. And it was hard because my visual memories of childhood are somewhat vague, so I couldn’t quite pinpoint how things used to be, just that they were off. I wished I remembered more. It’s great you have all these fantastic concrete memories to relive again. I’ve enjoyed your trip down memory lane!

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    • Thank you Sue! It’s been really nice to share these memories and revisit them actually. It’s funny because I remembered things with this A to Z that I hadn’t realised I remembered — that was mainly as I was going cross eyed trying to work out what the hell to write for some of the trickier letters 😉 and then I’d get a random memory ping in. That was a lot of fun.

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