Sunday Evening Tea Musings

I missed my Sunday Morning Coffee post.

Today I went back to my old hometown with a couple of errands to run. I have finally accepted that while I bake fantastically tasty cakes, I really don’t have the time to keep up with cake decorating, and I have a lot of tools that are just going to waste and taking up space. I contacted an old friend whose daughter is a cake decorator who is still in the start-up phase, and offered them the whole kit for $50. I kept only the tools I knew I would use, and there were plenty of extra for me to do so.

My friend was excited, as was her daughter, and I said I could drop it off on Sunday. No problem, just leave it in the breezeway, I’ll leave the money for you. It was there, I dropped things off, and then I stood in the driveway of the house that I lived next door to for almost twenty years and just looked at the neighborhood.

We lived on a dead-end street, with the very end of the street going up a hill to what was Mrs. Goodrows’ house. She had a field across the street that she rented to some folks who planted a large garden, mostly folks from the downtown area who had no yard themselves, and they were prolific gardeners. There were trees that lined the street, and a tree-filled hill that separated her house from most of the rest of the street. Past her house was a much steeper hill, a bit of a swamp, and more trees. As children we would explore those woods (we called it the Pine Grove), and sometimes climb the hill at the back and get up to the large park in town.

We lived in a two-story house built sometime in 1912. There were three maple trees out front, and a HUGE pine tree that dominated the yard and almost cost me my life when I fell out of it at 10 or 11. After that, my dad cut all the limbs off it going up 6 feet so none of us could climb it again.

I walked around and looked at this place I had spent so much time in, wishing I was somewhere else, but always coming back whenever I was hurt or in trouble or just needed a place to stay.

The large pine tree that stood between my house and the right-side neighbor was gone and now a fence stood between the two properties. It made the 1/4 acre yard seem far smaller than I remember it from mowing the lawn. The ugly gray asphalt shingles that sided the house were replaced with a light beige vinyl siding, making the house look much nicer. The side and front porches were gone. The driveway was still unpaved, and the leaded glass windows were still in place.

Most of the trees along the road were gone. Those trees provided shade, places to hide when we were playing our massive games of hide and seek on summer nights. Some of the houses had lost their garages or sheds, and many pools were gone. One house had another floor being added to it.

The woods that separated the end of the street from Mrs. Goodrow were long gone, much like the lady herself. Past her house, there was a road where none had been in the years I resided on the street. New houses had been built in the Pine Grove, and I shuddered to think what those cellars were like, knowing the swamp land that had been there before.

All in all, the place felt smaller and unfamiliar, almost like a garment I had forgotten I owned and had long since outgrown. On a whim I drove through town, following a familiar path I had taken so many times with my bicycle. The roads were smaller and in disrepair. While the houses themselves hadn’t changed, the yards had. There were more fences and less trees. More cars and less people. I drove past what used to be the municipal swimming pool, only to discover it had been filled in and the building and fences had been torn down. All that remained was the gardens that were nearby.

I felt both sad and strangely relieved. I have spent twenty years living in one town and calling another town my home. I realized today that while I was born and raised in that town, it’s no longer my hometown. Wherever I am, wherever I choose to live my life, that’s my hometown.