Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Going Home

Hey hey! Well, the snow is melting fast but the lingering winter got the kiddo with strep – so we have been home the past couple of days resting and playing (now that he is feeling better). One more day at home and he’ll get back to school just in time for spring break! Well played my boy, well played. ;)

Today’s post is SO special to me. Last week I was able to take a really special road trip with my Dad – it was one we had been planning for quite some time.

The back story is a long, drawn out one, but the gist of it is that I moved around a lot as a kid and we didn’t stay anywhere for too long. Not really sure why, at least early on. Later in my childhood, in high school, it was due to some crappy stuff happening, but in my earlier years I don’t know – we just moved a lot. Overall I don’t think I lived in one house more than two years till I was 18? Maybe one house was three years, but that was it.

So that and all the other stuff from my childhood has played a BIG part in my love for homes and our current house in particular. It makes me deeply happy and content to be able to put down roots and nest and putter and live our days in a home we love.

I have fond memories of every place we lived, even during the not so great times, but there was one house in particular that affected me like the others didn’t. We lived in a small town in Indiana called LaFontaine for a couple years, when I was about eight years old to about ten.  

When I say small town, I mean smaller than the small town Johnny Cougar sang about. ;) (Although I lived in that small town for years too!). LaFontaine has a population of less than 1,000 people, but living there stuck with me. I LOVED it.

We lived in an old farmhouse, on a ton of land, with a huge red barn (and a few smaller ones) in the back. I remember climbing the wooden ladder in the barn to the hay bale loft and hiding in the hay tunnels (even though I was totally afraid of spiders, even back then). I had a tire swing, I was outside a LOT, the dogs and cats would just come and go as they pleased, and my parents had a volleyball net set up out front pretty much all summer. old farmhouse

I would ride my bike about a quarter of a mile down the road to an older couple’s house to visit (I was an only child in the middle of nowhere – and no cable back then either of course) and the wife would bake pies and put them in the windowsill to cool and then feed me. I mean, seriously. It was amazing. old farmhouse

(My parents, my great grandmother (my namesake) and me in front of the house.)

So I’ve told my Dad for years that I wanted to go back. It’s been something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time, I just couldn’t stop thinking about it. About a year ago we took a trip up – and drove around forever but could not find the house. Not much has changed about the farmland out there, which means every road starts to look the same after a while. We drove around for a couple hours and finally gave up.

My parents rented the house so there was no real record of us living there – we just couldn’t figure out how to get the address. I tried searching online for weeks and got nowhere.

So this past Christmas Dad surprised me with a gift – he found one of my report cards from when we lived in that house with the address! We were so excited! Problem is, it was a rural route address, and when we entered into Google maps, nothing was found.

So last week we decided to try it again, just the two of us, report card in hand. We started at the post office, but they didn’t know how to help us. They suggested the town hall (right across the street of course), so we went over there.

Thankfully the sweetest girl was working that day and was SO helpful. She made a phone call trying to figure out the new address but didn’t come up with anything. Dad mentioned that he remembered the first name of the landlord, but that didn’t ring a bell to her. He said the man owned a lot of farmland in the area and then right away it all clicked for all of us – she knew exactly who it was.

Dad knew we had lived near the landlord’s operation, so she did some more sleuthing and we set off in what we figured was the general direction of the house.

Thing is, both this time and last time I was looking for that big red barn and the other smaller ones behind it as we drove around. Dad was the one who said we should consider that they may not be there anymore, and wouldn’t you know it, he was right. He was the one who saw the house first as we drove down the road.

At first I wasn’t sure. First of all, it looked at least half the size of what I remembered! I think we’ve all been there – places we grew up with seem so much bigger, cause, well…we were half the size. ;) And Dad was right, the barns were gone. What was once a sweet farmhouse tucked into trees and surrounded by buildings was standing alone, all by itself in the middle of nowhere.

It was when I saw the front porch that I knew he was right. This was the place:

old farmhouse

It was surreal. It’s been nearly 30 years since I’ve been there. Thirty years! I’m old!

It looked SO different, so lonely, so naked. The big red barn was gone – as was everything else I remembered about the back:

Oh my. It made me so, so sad.

The house was empty (I was going to knock on the door if anyone was living there) so we were able to walk around and I snapped a bunch of pictures -- some of the inside too.

Talk about surreal. So much had changed inside – I mean, I figured it had, it’s been a long time. But it was funny how I wanted the old stuff to be there still. Hardwoods had been carpeted over. Old windows and doors replaced. I was even sad to see the horrible paneling in the front room was now dry walled.

My sister was born while we lived there -- we moved away soon after she was born. Here’s a picture I found of her as a newborn with Mom in the kitchen and the old metal cabinets and glass block window (with the old crank to open it!):

So precious! :) And check out that cane backsplash – I’m guessing it was wallpaper? I think it’s funny that I would totally use that in my house somewhere now.

Not all of the windows had been replaced, but the ones in the kitchen had – along with everything else:

It’s really a large kitchen – what I wouldn’t give to make it into a true farmhouse space again!

See that closed door in the room past the kitchen to the left? Behind that is a narrow staircase that leads up to the two rooms upstairs. They had pitched ceilings and I now realize really small little windows, but they seemed huge to me at the time. And I had the whole upstairs to myself. I remember the rooms being full of light every day, even with those small windows.

And one year for my birthday (in October), I had my friends over for sleepover, and we sat at the base of those stairs telling ghost stories. When one of us was just getting to the scariest part of a story, my Dad opened that door at the exact right (or wrong) moment and scared us out of our wits. It was hilarious (at least it is now). I still remember it like it was yesterday.

I was thrilled to find that I had old pictures of the outside too – you can see a little of the old barn here:

My Mom and (most of) my grandparents. I love this photo! :)

This is that same exact view now:

Ugh! I hate it! SO many trees are gone too – beautiful old, full trees. I wonder if they fell on their own? I don’t know.

Here’s the area to the right, almost 30 years ago:

old farmhouse

The leaves weren’t even on the trees at this point, but you can see how many there were back there.

Behind that smaller barn to the right was where rhubarb grew and my tire swing hung from a huge tree. :)

It’s all gone now, every bit of it, even the trees:

I know. So sad. Dad said we were on about three acres of land and it was so, so pretty. We were out in the middle of nowhere but it was always so cozy to me.

Part of me was hoping to see that small barn, walk around it and still find the rhubarb. :)

The back of the house has changed a ton too. Here it is with the old window, door, awnings and what I think was wood shingles on the back?:

old farmhouse

So different now, right?:

old farmhouse

Although I do love the aqua door. :)

It looks like they redid the whole back of the house. There was also an old brick chimney that used to be on the right side of the house back there, and that’s gone too.

I knew the house from the front porch, but I also knew we had the right place because of the bay window on the side:

It’s still the same window. I have an old photo of me holding my newborn sister inside, looking out that window onto the fields and trees, but I can’t find it. I know I have it somewhere so it’s driving me crazy. It is such a special shot.

I took a (bad) picture through the window and this room looks smaller than I remember, but similar:

Here’s my grandma holding my new baby sis almost exactly 28 years ago (her birthday is in less than two weeks) – you can see that original door with the panes in the background:

I remember that middle room being HUGE. It’s so not. :) See that little alcove in the wall behind the sofa? If I remember right I think it was for the phone – you can see in the recent pic that it was taken out.

This last picture makes me sad – this was what I was expecting when we drove up:

old farmhouse

See that massive tree trunk waaay over on the right? That was my tire swing tree. :)

But this is what’s there now. Of course the leaves aren’t back quite yet, but it doesn’t matter – all the big trees are gone. All the bushes in front of the porch. Everything:

old farmhouse

My beloved childhood home looks so lonely. :( BUT, it’s still there.

I told Dad as we drove away that I would love to have the money to buy the house right now. I would rebuild at least one barn, plant new trees, landscape, and then start on the inside of the house. :)

I can’t stop thinking about it – I have it all planned out in my head how we could take the Bub up there on the weekends and just let him and the dog RUN. Live simply. Sit on the front porch and rock. Maybe play some volleyball in the front yard. ;)

I can’t get it out of my head.

It’s not going to happen, but it doesn’t mean I won’t quit visiting. I already have plan to drive my sister up there to see it, and I may take the Bub so he can run around. I have a feeling I’ll drive by it at least once a year, just to check on it.

I wish I could explain why this house has stuck with me so, why it affects me this way. I tried to explain it to my hubby last night and ended up wiping tears away and telling him he couldn’t possibly understand why it meant so much to me…because I can’t either.

Maybe it’s because I’m a woman and more emotional? Maybe it’s because I had been looking at old photos all day. Maybe because this is the house that made me fall in love with houses? I think it’s all of the above really. Our life was far from perfect while we lived here – but I just remember being so happy. Carefree. After that I didn’t feel like that for a really long time – but it’s how I feel in our house now.

So, I will just keep stalking it. Checking on it every so often.

Do you have a childhood home that you think about a lot? Have you ever gone back? Knocked on the door? :) Did it make you sad or happy to go back? It made me feel both – sad that’s it’s not how I remembered, but SO happy I got to see it again.

Thanks for letting me share it with you. :)


  1. One of these days I'll go back to my childhood home where I lived ages 1-12. I loved that house (and yard), too. It's only 2 hours away, but what used to be "out in the boonies" is now engulfed in "the DC Area", so it is a pain to go back. Seeing your post makes me want to now more than ever, though! Very touching.

  2. I do understand completely! I feel this way about my Grandparents house and farm. I was devastated when my Grandma died and the farm was sold at auction. Seriously... my plans had been to buy the old place and move there one day. I lived there off and on as a child because we couldn't always move at the same time as my dad (military moves overseas don't always get concurrent travel... ) plus we lived with them while he was in Vietnam. (yes I'm that old) Just recently the son of one of my cousin's bought the place... house and ALL the acreage! I know many changes have been made over the years but it is still so good to know it is back in the family.

    (I was also going to say with that place being in a rural community and sitting empty... it might be something the farmer might want to sell... at a really good price.... we actually did this ourselves... got a farmhouse near my husband's childhood home for a steal... but it needs a TON of work!)

    Have a wonderful day and thank you for sharing with us!

  3. Well now I'm wiping away tears! Thanks so much for sharing your childhood home with us. I totally get why it's so special to you. My childhood home makes me feel the same way. Life was so simple back then.

  4. My parents were married for 13 years and we moved 14 times in those years. Not really sure why either. But, I have a "favorite" house too. And, on the very rare occasions that I drive by it, it looks SO teeny. But, its what happens inside that matters. That's what makes it a home. My husband doesn't understand it either. So weird how a house can make you feel that way. Not sure if you've ever heard the song "The House That Built Me" by Miranda Lambert, but it takes me back and makes me teary-eyed every time.

    Thanks for sharing.

  5. Oh gosh, Sarah, I'm wiping away tears too. I soooo get it. I'm an only child and my parents were both only children. They're gone now. So are my grandparents. All that is left are memories. Someone once told me that houses are living things. Maybe there is a bit of each of us that lives on in them. :) Thank you for sharing.

  6. This is such a sweet story...made me cry! <3

  7. What a wonderful post! Thank you for sharing. My childhood home (we lived there until I was 10) holds those same special memories. I remember telling my husband about the HUGE backyard. Well, we visited a few years ago and that huge backyard was, well not so huge at all :) The home was in foreclosure and in a state of disrepair. It made me so sad because my parents built that home. I'm amazed at how much I remember of my time in that little house. It's a reminder that as we decorate our homes with the latest trends and shop for perfect accessories, it's really the memories we create in our homes that matter most.

  8. The house I went back to was torn down last time. It was shocking. I lived on a long private drive and ours was the only house on that side of the 'lake' (which was more like a large pond, really, but we called it the lake because there was a small pond on the side of the house as well. It was okay to see the thing gone - I was like Jenny in Forest Gump about that house. Lots of horrific memories. But seeing it razed? That was shocking. They had made our private drive with five houses into sort of a development. New people living on it stopped and said "It must have been really something special living here when it was like that" but all I could think of was how it really wasn't. And how what you see from the outside can be so very deceiving. It's better to be safe in a freezing cottage than terrorized in a castle.

    But there is a place I go- my granparent's house. I'm so lucky to still have them. That place is my go-to place. They still have the barn and hog house and a few of the outbuildings which were there when I was a kid. There's magic in the air at that place. You know? HGTV should buy you that house and give you a show, dangnabbit. I would love to see what you would do with it. HGTV? Are you listening? And I would drive next door to Indiana to help you. Because that would be about seventeen tons of fun!

    1. Tammi, that's seventeen tons of BRILLIANT!! I always thought HGTV should have a "Thrifty Decor Chick" TV show ... and now they have the concept!

      I would TOTALLY watch that!!

  9. This is one of my all time favorite posts of yours (and I have a LOT). Thank you so much for sharing your childhood home. It's sad to see how much has changed, but at least the house is still there. We can hope that whoever buys it will have the same passion as you and will make it a place they love. I'm sure they would also love to see old photos of the house!

  10. I lived in the same house from 1960 to 1978 when my parents sold it. They sold it to a couple that lived there in town. Our house was her 'dream house' so her husband bought it for her and she lived there until cancer took her. Her husband just passed away last year and he was in his 80's. Now his daughter and son-on-law live in it. I've seen photos of the exterior and it's in pristine condition. It's been a very loved house. I'm so sorry your house changed so much and was not still surrounded by trees and the neat old red barn. Time just marches on....

  11. Your story gives me goosebumps... it's "The House That Built Me" in real life! I think each of us have a house like that in our memories-- one where our favorite stories were made and we were happy, and carefree. For me that was my paternal grandparents' home-- we moved a lot, too, but their house was always the same. What I wouldn't give to pack that house up and move it to where we live! (though it still wouldn't be the same without Pappy's carefully tended yard). I still imagine, though ;) And I'm glad that I'll always have the memories :)

  12. Oh Sarah, I know just how you feel! I had to laugh at how much smaller it seemed to you now, as an adult, because that's exactly the reaction I've had to homes from my childhood. One I remember having a HUGE playground next door, with another large apartment complex next to the playground. Nope, itty bitty! I didn't even recognize it at first glance!

    My favorite childhood home went up for sale a couple of years ago, and I was able to view some of the listing photos online. It's definitely changed so much - it's like you want it to be frozen in time, just as you remember it, you know?

    Have you seen the photos that people take, where they hold up an old photo in the same location it was taken years ago? You should totally do that with this house!

    Check out this website, you'll see what I mean. :-)

    Thanks for sharing such a heartfelt post. I completely understand and appreciate where you're coming from, and despite its condition now, it will always house those warm memories.

  13. This was a really special entry.

    I'm lucky that my mum still lives in the funny old house I grew up in. (We moved there when I was 9 months old and I'm 28 now.) The thought of other people living there one day makes me so, so sad...

  14. What a sweet story. 30 years later, my parents still live in the house my brother and I grew up in. I love love love how (for the most part) it hasn't changed. My daughter and the rest of the great grand kids can play in the house that their parents played in as children. It means so so much to me :)

  15. Roz, I remember you living in the little duplex in Homeplace, and visiting you there. I thought it was so cool that you shared a room with Elizabeth, and you had all your toys together. And then, of course, the townhouse near CHS where we would escape after school - such good memories! For me, visiting the house where we lived in Florida - I check it out on google maps all the time and even drive past when I'm there. So much has changed (they even painted it pink at one point - I was outraged), and the neighborhood looks so different. But then again, the house on 106th Street looks pretty different now too. Love you and loved this post! Jen

  16. Best post ever! Of course, I live for nostalgia, so I totally get it. My parents have lived in our family homestead for more than 40 years. It is the only house of my childhood and now it is the house of permanence for my children. (We have moved our family several times.) Having been connected to the house for the entire time, I have seen the march of time in a more gradual way. We had 3 huge maple trees along the front of the property. We kids (6 of us) spent many happy hours playing in those trees. We had a rope swing in one, another was perfect for climbing, we laid under them in the dappled summer sunlight and raked their leaves into huge piles in the fall. In the spring my mom tapped them and made maple syrup and in the winter, despite their nakedness, they stood and sheltered our home from the harshness of wind and snow. When the last one had to come down it was a sad day indeed. The property is composed of 62 acres and as kids we played on every acre of it. We skated on the two brooks in the winter, helped in the hayfields in the summer. I long for my kids to have that. To know the happiness and contentment, the sense of excitement and exploration, the responsibility and hard work that come with farm living. But as has been said, wherever we live, if our children feel loved and secure, they will have the same feelings of contentment from their childhood. I have to remind myself of that all the time. And lastly, every time an old barn is torn down, a little piece of my heart is torn as well. The family farm is going the way of the dinosaur and it breaks my heart. I can't wait to own a farmhouse with a big red barn. It will happen.

  17. What special memories! From the time I was about 2 we moved to the house that would be my home for the next 20+ years. I know EXACTLY what you mean about it being so much smaller than you remember. I was the same way. My parents moved 3 years ago & it was very weird seeing it empty.

  18. Now I am wiping away tears too. My special childhood place was my Nana and Pop's farmhouse. After my Pop passed away my Nana moved into a town to live with her sister and never went back. I went back once a year or so later and my Pop's cardigan was still hanging on a nail inside the back door. It is amazing how quickly the house started to deteriorate with no one in it though. Then I found out a few years ago that termites had got into the foundations and the house had collapsed. I can't bear to even think of going back to look at it now. I spent so many childhood holidays there though that the memories are so strong. I still try to recreate parts of that house in my own home with crocheted afghans from my Grandmother and Danish/scandinavian design furniture (they were Danish), always hoping for the same feeling. Sigh.

  19. oh, i love this post. i feel the same way about the house my family lived in when they brought me home. we moved out when i was almost 3 and i have only a few memories of the house, but they are vivid.

    the first memory: my bedroom had royal blue, low pile carpet. (it wasn't soft or cushy...i wondered why there was even carpet at all.) i only remember that part so vividly because i remember when i was potty training i hurried to my dresser to grab a pair of undies and run to the bathroom. let's just say i only made it to the dresser and made a puddle on that blue carpet. oops.

    my other memory of the house is that i always had a pair of sandals (rainbow colors, of course) on the stairs going down into the basement. i have a vivid vision of opening the door to the basement and seeing my little sandals there.

    it's funny the things you remember...and how your memory keeps everything 'just so'. i'd also love to walk through that house...just to see. but i'm afraid it would tarnish my 'just so' memory.

  20. Wow! Your story is so similar to mine. We moved around a lot too when I was young. My step dad was in construction, so when business was good, we would rent a nice size home. When business got bad, we'd get a smaller one. I attended 13 different schools by the time I was in the 6th grade. Once we settled down when I was in the 6th grade, my mom had remarried and they bought the house we ended up staying in until way after my first child was born.
    In 2008, Hurricane Ike destroyed that house. I didn't live there anymore, but my mom did. There was 4 1/2 feet of water in it from the storm surge. They had to demolish it and the government purchased the 2 1/2 acres from my mom because they were requiring them to build the land up (which would have cost a fortune) or their insurance would have been unatainable. They now live in the same town, but in a different house. I almost feel like that house kept us together as a family. Once it was gone, we didn't have as many family gatherings as we did when it was there. We used to all hang out there on Sundays. My sisters and I always spent the night. I don't know if it's because of the house or because we've all had more babies since then, but whatever the case, our family hasn't been the same since it was destroyed.
    Louvier's Place:

  21. Oh what a precious story. I loved every minute of it. Thanks. Hugs, Marty

  22. I get where you are coming from. I feel the same way about what I call my childhood home. We moved frequently as I was growing up. I was always the new girl. The home I love so much is my grandparents home. We lived with them or on their property off and on through out my life. My great grandparents (used to live on the property) have passed away, my grandpa passed away and now my grandma lives there and it's just too much land for her to keep up with on her own. She is thinking of selling it. I would want more than anything to buy it just because it would break my heart if someone who didn't appreciate the home moved in. In fact I'm tearing up now thinking of someone else living there and tearing down the house. It isn't a big farm house but it's in my heart. When I go visit my heart feels heavy. I have so many wonderful memories there and it looks so different. Many trees are gone because of an ice storm. Things are over grown and neglected. We are not in a position to buy a home right now but if I could, I would!

  23. This is my first visit to your blog and I can't believe I came to this very special post. It made me teary eyed to. Probably because I have a similar special place in my life. I've been back there and everything is gone now, including the house, barn, outbuildings and the little outhouse. The only thing that remains to this day is the giant lilac bush that was planted in the center of the path to the outhouse. I have spent the remainder of my life trying to recapture that life, that home, that feeling of belonging not only for myself but for my children as well. I am about as close to that place now than I will ever be, living only seven miles from that farm and now owning a home in the town that we frequented so much as a child. Most of the same people are here that I have known or know of all of my life. It's very comforting. God Bless.

  24. I really loved reading your story. I spent my first ten years in a little old house in L.A. that I wanted to revisit for years afterward. I finally got to about 16 years later and yes, it was way smaller than I remembered and also sadly a lot more run down. There is just something particular and special about those houses that imprint on you. I still have a bit of longing and nostalgia for that house with its tiny rooms and half-finished living room and old carpet, even after being back one more time since then. Thanks so much for sharing!

  25. I totally get exactly what you are talking about! I had that house in my Grandmother's house. A year after she passed away, the new owners invited us all over to see what they had changed on the inside. I cried the whole time! They drywalled over the fireplace! They carpeted over the hardwood. I still drive past each Christmas as the whole extended family still meets up for Christmas mass at "Grandma's Church", but it makes me so sad too. I too have wanted to purchase it and make it back to the way it should be, but the neighborhood in Minneapolis isn't like it should be anymore. Not a safe place to raise children either. I think this house was more of a home to me than my childhood home (that I lived in my entire life). My Grandma's home was happy times, baking and sewing. My home was not as happy. It is nice to go back in my mind and trace the rooms in my head, remembering all the good hiding spots. This might be alot to do with my blog name of again happier times. Thank you for sharing...I thought I was alone with this kind of thinking! Michelle

  26. I loved reading this. I think a lot of us can identify with it on some level.

    As for your feelings, I think you're right that what prompts your strong feelings is "all of the above." We're complicated beings, we humans. Sometimes our stories get REALLY complicated. But isn't it amazing how all the ins and outs and twists and turns to our stories can end up yielding results that bless not only us but other people as well? That's called redemption, and it's the most wonderful thing in the world.

    Sarah, you're Thrifty Decor Chick, and that's worked really well for you. It's a great brand, you've had great success, and you deserve your success. But you're so much more than just a chick who likes thrifty decor. You're a brilliant, kind, generous woman seeking to make and share a home and to be a blessing to all your loved ones, far and near. I think you're the embodiment of what I like to talk about--grace at home. (I like to talk about it; you really DO it!) I am so proud to be your friend.

  27. I have one too. It's in Indianapolis. A blue house with a bright red door on Churchill Court. I looked it up on Google Earth one time and I cried. I live in CO now and the only ones living in IN were my grandparents and they've both since passed. So, there's no reason to really go there, but I'd still like to go visit one day, and take my children.
    Thanks for sharing your story. :)

  28. beautiful, heart-felt and sentimental post that i can truly relate, i gotta ask....miranda lambert? the song, "the house that built me".........? know it? all i could hear inside my head when reading this was that song.

  29. Your blog certainly invokes lots of memories in lots of people. I not only enjoyed reading your story, but also the other commenter stories.

  30. My childhood home is unique. I grew up next door to my grandparents (where my mom had lived her whole life until college and getting married) and when my grandparents died (i was 5 and 8) we moved into their home. So while i spent the majority of my life living in THAT house...i still consider that my grandparents house. Isn't that funny?
    So now, every time i go visit my parents (this year marks 18 years since my family has been in my grandparents home) i look next door and try to in-vision my old home. the people who live there now have been there for probably at least 10 years and have completely remodeled. There is nothing the same. :(


  31. I completely understand! I even gasped when I saw the comparison in the photos.. it saddens me too when I see areas cleared out.. *sigh* keep dreaming! you just never know!

  32. What a precious post! Thank you for sharing!!~~Angela

  33. This is one of my favorite posts, next to your Thanksgiving post about the motel. And all of your comments have been so heart warming! Fifty years ago I grew up 700 miles from where I live now. However we all went back to visit about twenty years ago. It was a building where my father had a metal working shop and he and my mom and three kids lived in the back in an apartment. It didn't even look like a house. Oh, what wonderful memories of playing and family time in that apartment! The shop was on 2 acres in a rural area. My mom planted trees and flowering shrubs and long beds of irises. We had the best swings and sliding board a metal working shop could build!

    When we went back twenty years ago, we saw where the workshop had been torn down and a beautiful home, truly a mansion, had been built in its place, surrounded by the trees and flowers my mom had planted so many years before. The owners even kept the storage building in back that my dad built! Funny how things turn out!

  34. That's it! I'm never moving! Kidding...kind of. I think that's what we strive for in a home for our children. I want their memories to be precious and happy when they look back and remember our home, our life here. I would love to see you buy that house and turn it back into a farmhouse with a barn, trees, and a tire swing. I know it's far fetched, but if I'm thinking about it, I know you're dreaming about it, lol.

  35. Loved reading this. I seriously read every one of your posts word for word. I have a couple of old houses like this - the one I grew up in, the one my sister lived in on a ranch down in Florida, another house my other sister lived in on a ranch in North Carolina. The trees, the land, the lakes, the openness, the simpleness... I dream about those houses all the time. We still swing by the old house I was born in every time we take a trip back. There is just something special about houses like that.

  36. You are a true inspiration and I love your blog. I moved almost every year as a child so I totally get it. Keep up the good work!

  37. I TOTALLY get it. It's not the house that I grew up in that I feel this way about (yet) because my parents still live there. However, I do feel this way about my grandmother's house. I drive by it about every year or so. There used to be a HUGE tree behind it that my cousins and I would play under and that's not there anymore. The front door is different. Every few years something changes. I'm feeling even more nostalgic about it her house these days because I'm scanning all of the old family photos and there are a lot of photos from inside the house or in front of the house and so on. I loved being at my grandmother's house. There was always good food and laughter and I have so many good memories. I keep my eye on the real estate sites in case it ever pops up for sale. I'm definitely going to look at it if it ever does just because I'd love to see what's different.

  38. I know exactly what you were talking about your feeling going back to your childhood home.
    I went back to see the house I grew up in after more than 30 years, it was my grandparents home, my parents were divorced and my mom & brother and baby sister moved in with my grandparents.

    As I drove down our old country road, there was subdivisions and banks and grocery stores and a shopping center, our house was torn down and a nursing home set on my grandparents 16acres, I cried of course,
    if our old house was standing I would love to buy it and move home

    great but sad memories

  39. I loved this post and your trip down memory lane. Just beautiful and I would live in that HOUSE NOW.. nothing better than a good ol farm house. they have good bones built strong usually and Its so touching that your dad found the report card. He knew that was special to you . Things happen on having to move as kids... Love this post.. thanks for sharing your heart and memories with us girl .. have a blessed Easter ..

  40. Loved your story, Sarah. Funny how lots of people said they moved a lot as kids - so did we. But my maternal grandparents home was our real home where we always spent holidays and other family gatherings. A few years after my grandmother died in 1992, my grandfather sold the house. I went with my mother and took my then 11 yr old son to help him clean out the house. I had always imagined my family living in their house but it was in the wrong city. Then when we were moving their things out, I realized what bad shape it was really in. I still visit the house on Google every now and then. The only changes the new owners have made is change the backyard fence since it used to be a 4 ft chain link and now it's a 6 ft wooden fence.
    When my grandma died and we were in Ft. Worth for the funeral, my mother told me that we were very close to the elementary school that I had attended for 2 yrs. I remembered it as a small 2-story red brick school and I'd told my kids and husband about it. We decided to drive by the school to see what it looked like 23 yrs later. Talk about shocked! The building was still there, but it was abandoned and all boarded up. The campus gounds were all overgrown and weedy. Of course, all my kids (ages 11 and 13 then) could say was, "you went to school here?" At least my mom jumped in and said, "Well, it didn't look like this back then!" You can imagine how old it made me feel, though, just seeing the school like that.

  41. We moved around a lot as well. (yep, I be a military brat) So I don't have any special place to remember. I do have a home that I remember fondly though. A house way up in the mountains of Caifornia that my grandpa built. My mom said she drove up there a few years back and although she never lived there it made her feel homesick. I said I am sure I would feel the same way seeing it again. We have plans to drive up to see it this Fall when I go with her and dad to visit my sisters. It's been soooo many years, but it's where my happiest childhood memories took place!

  42. What a bitter sweet story. I loved reading this post. I moved around a lot as a kid - my dad was in the Royal Air Force, so we had several homes, but there is one place that was perfect in my memory. The location, the rooms, I was happy there. You've stirred up old memories for me too. x

  43. Our stories are very similar. It's funny because the hubs and I were just talking about the number of times I moved as a kid the other day over lunch. The longest we stayed in any one house was 3 years. My hubby's mother still lives in the house he grew up in (she is 94, he 55). Our girls love that house! While our last house in NY was probably my favorite, the one I miss the most was my grandparents home in NY. They rented the bottom floor of an old house (the landlord's brother, a fireman, lived upstairs). I have a dream to go back someday to see it as well. Since both our parents worked outside the home we spent a great many hours in that old house. We will celebrate 21 years in our home in May (the 2nd for our 23 year old, the only for our 19 year old). I told my husband, while there are many beautiful newer homes out there, I couldn't imagine moving! I think after talking about how many times I had moved the other day, he totally gets it!!

  44. Hi there, I'm a new follower! This post totally struck a chord in my heart!! I totally get it...I am so afraid for the day that my parents sell their house, the one I grew up in until I moved and got married. Like I could seriously tear up right now even thinking about the possibility!

    The funny thing is, it doesn't even have anything "special" about it. It's a typical 4-bedroom suburban, cookie-cutter kind of place. There are just so many memories inside :)

  45. Hi Sarah, this is such a small world...

    My family actually owns that house! My name is Laura (Bowman) Langebartels. My sister-in-law follows your blog and she passed your site on to me since I've been doing projects on our new house, which is literally a half mile from your childhood house!

    My grandfather actually grew up in that house too. It's very special to my family! If you'd like to come up for another visit I'd love to meet you and let you in the house! You can email me at

  46. What a neat story! I have the same feeling about a house I grew up in. Would love to buy it still to this day! Blessings to you!

  47. Love this post!

    I know exactly how you feel, except I feel that each time I visit my aunt and uncle's farm.
    As it's where I belong and could live forever.

    My brother and s-i-l still live in my childhood home. The place has been totally redone top to bottom and doesn't even feel like the same place I lived as a child. Only when i'm outside there do I feel like it was home. I see my dad in all the places he tinkered with stuff or built things in his little building.
    The same building my brother now does all the magical fixing of things as my dad did.

    Tis funny how we are always leaving pieces of ourselves in the places we live or love.

    Jake's a Girl

  48. Oh, thanks for including us; I liked reading about
    that. I felt a bit teary reading it. Seems so sad
    that so much of the special stuff is just plain gone.
    At least the house was still there. It sure must be
    sad for those who go back as you did only to see
    a mini mart or something. :( I'm puzzled why it's
    vacant, in decent shape, yet unlocked? (Or maybe
    you were looking through the windows.)

    At first I thought your Mom was you, & who is the
    little girl? (Duh) But you do look a bit like her. !

    Your sis is a beautiful baby.

    I read the other comments--I loved the one that
    said you could fix it up for a TV show. And the
    comment from Laura who is from the family that
    owns the I kept thinking a commenter
    might say; "I lived in that house too!"


  49. Oh, & I wonder how old the house is. Probably
    quite old. It looks like it may have had 2 front
    doors originally. ?

  50. I cried when I saw my Grandma and Grandpa N's house after having not been there for 20 years. I haven't been back. I don't even know if the house is still standing. The new owners (after Grandma died in 1962 and the house was sold, and Grandpa went to live with my Aunt L, his oldest daughter, and her family, who lived down the highway about half a mile) had so changed the place and in the meantime, while I grew up, the area had changed. Gotten more densely populated, for one thing. I couldn't bring myself to go to the front door and knock to see if anyone was home and would let me take a look around. Sometimes, it is better not to go back. Sometimes, it is just better to preserve precious memories as they are.

  51. it really is hard to go back.....I hope the travels with Dad built lots of new memories...I have 2 houses that hold my I never really grew up in,my parents got the summer I married but it was so special. A dream forever 2 story log home side of a mountain in a canyon over a trout stream...My Dad did so much of the work. The other my Aunt and Uncles a old homestead they redid...huge and so special a home for children ....both I will never go buy but that is as much as I can push myself

  52. I remember thinking our rooms were huge too, until i went back and they were so small!!! Its such a different perspective when you grow up!

  53. This is a great article! After reading this, I suddenly remember all my childhood days with our old house. All my happy memories with my friends and family were all there. It's sad, I missed the fun especially my parents before they got separated. Our old house reminds me of happiness when I was still a child.

  54. Great post Sarah! I also moved a lot as a kid and I think that's what makes me so insistent that we grow roots where we are. In love the house pics, but my fave was the one of your mom and newborn sister! Thanks for sharing!
    XO, Barbara at Chase the Star

  55. Yes, I still think about our old house. When I go back to Oklahoma, I drive by it but it too looks so different. I've even googled it and stared at the photo of the yard. Some of the trees look kind of the same. It's funny how those houses get a hold on our hearts. I totally loved reading your memories. I get it.

  56. What a touching post. My father died when I was 6 and we moved to my grandparents town. We did move back home after a year. My mother passed away when I was 18 so our family home was sold. When I was in my 20's with children of my own we moved to a house on that same street. It was fabulous to be near the home where I grew up, near the neighbors that loved me and my family so much and to have my children play in the same places I played. My childhood home was being rented. While living there, the tenants moved out and I got to go in that house again. It is so true how everything seemed so huge to me as a child! I loved that house and had tons of fabulous memories and some sad....but it is all pieces of things that make me who I am today.

  57. I was born in IN but have lived in Texas almost my entire life. I went to Purdue and one of my best friends from college lives in Lafontaine! I have been there several times...cute, sleepy little town!

  58. I completely understand your sentimentality for that house, that red barn and the trees! I am the same way! My grandparents both had farms in central Indiana. I grew up in Brownstown, Indiana (which is the even smaller town than Johnny Cougar Melloncamp's small town!). Loved today's post!

  59. I understand. I am fortunate that my parents still own and live in my childhood home. Even so, it has changed. In1974, 3 F5 tornados swept through my little (2376) town of Guin, AL. Much damage and loss of life changed Guin forever. We lost the pine thicket that was in our back yard but the house was not touched. Mother and Daddy added on a sunroom a few years ago that we all love. We used to have the same telephone niche. Sorta wish that was still there. Our bedrooms have undergone drastic changes. Mine is an office and my brother's is the guest bedroom, still with his twin beds. But mother kept our decorated doors. My brother had painted his and mine still has the sweetest puppy dog decal.

  60. I feel you Sarah! Anytime I've gone back to homes I've grown up in, I'm always disappointed because they're not the same. This leads me to think that some memories are better left at that....memories!

  61. I have recently moved back into the house that I grew up in.....It's wonderful and weird at the same time! You are so very right about how things seemed so much bigger when we were kids! Now that all my "stuff" is in it doesn't seem nearly as big as it was 30 years ago! As wonderful as it is I do have an inner tug of war with myself about it.....I want it to stay the same yet it really does need alot of updating but I feel like I'm betraying the house in some way by changing!

  62. My parents still live in my childhood home and very little of it has changed. I get more sentimental over the changes in the area around my home. I grew up a mile and a half from Ft. Clatsop and would ride my bike through what was a sorting yard for a logging co. Now the Fort owns it and cleared it out and put in parking so now instead of being peaceful there are an overwhelming number of loud, rude, and disgusting tourists that like to trespass on my parent's and their neighbor's property. The neighbors have even had people POOP behind the house. In the yard. So frustrating. And of course there are plenty of nice tourists, but the nasty ones are the ones that stand out! We're also getting many new businesses in the area which is good on one hand, but so sad for overly sentimental people like me! My kids are frequently asking, "Is it bad we're getting new stores?" And I have to say, No, it's fine, I just miss the trees and the way things were." We still have MANY trees and live in a beautiful area!

  63. It is so special for you to share these memories. I loved seeing the old photos and then to see how the farmhouse is today. So sad that those trees and barn buildings aren't there any more. I have a feeling that this isn't the last of your involvement with this special place.

  64. I am catching up on your posts and this one is so timely. Tomorrow, my father-in-law is moving in with my husband and I and leaving the home he has lived in for 44 years. He lived there with the love of his life for 42 of those years. He is excited to be moving to our house and in his new space here, but is also sad and apprehensive over leaving all those memories. We have lots of photos, and we know the person who is buying it. I hope to take him by occasionally. My husband and my sister-in-law are doing okay with the sale, but their memories are different.
    I think it so great that a member of the family who owns that house replied here. Now, you can take your son and really show him the house!


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