Monday, 7 May 2018

Good riddance

According to a survey, six out of ten people feel more affection for their childhood home than their present one. They associate their childhood home with their happiest memories, so much so that some would buy it if they could. Some go as far as recreating the same decor and furnishings in their current home.

Well, I'm not one of the sixty per cent. I have no affection whatever for my two childhood homes. Not only are some of my childhood memories far from happy, but I actively disliked the houses themselves.

The first one was poky and dingy and the four of us (including my sister) were constantly tripping over each other. All the woodwork was being eaten by woodworm and one day the chimney collapsed, almost killing me. A busy railway line at the bottom of the garden provided a constant background noise, which we were used to but was still intrusive.

The second house was much bigger but never felt cosy or comfortable. Everything in the house was heavy and noisy and the carpets and curtains did little to absorb the noise. I always felt I had to be as quiet as possible and not add to the racket. And there was the same busy railway line at the end of the garden.

I much prefer the house I'm in now. It's roomy and light, full of lovely paintings, posters and ornaments, and surrounded by lots of beautiful trees. It's not noisy and it's woodworm-free. And there's no railway line anywhere near it. I have no wish to buy either of my childhood homes or have anything more to do with them. Nor do I want to recreate the ghastly decor and furnishings my parents were so fond of.

Whoever is now living in those childhood homes - they're welcome to them.

26 comments:

kylie said...

My parents still live in the house I grew up in. They have been there longer than I have been alive.
I very much like the house but I wouldn't live there. I wouldn't keep it as nice as they have and it would break everyone's hearts.
My brother is sentimental to the point of stupidity and wants to keep it when mum & dad are gone. He has suggested renting it out and splitting the income between the nine grandchildren which would be stupid because the rent would be significant in one lump but split between nine it would just be an amount to waste.
I am actually fearful of how it will all work out because he is unlikely to listen to my views

John Gray said...

I'm like you nick. But My childhood hope was filled agnst

Bijoux said...

I did a post on my childhood home when I saw online that it was for sale. I would enjoy walking through, but have no interest in living there or anywhere else in that area.

nick said...

Kylie: I agree, splitting the rent nine ways would be rather silly. It obviously makes more sense to sell it and then divide the sale proceeds nine ways.

John: It's amazing how many people have had an angst-filled childhood. Parents can be pretty bad at parenting.

nick said...

Bijoux: It surprises me how many people have such an affection for their childhood home. I would have thought it was more natural to find fault with it and want something quite different.

Mike said...

My mom was always homesick, not so much for the house, but for the town. Finally, over 3 decades after she left, she and my step-father moved back, living on the opposite side of town from the old house. They lived there about a decade and, then, moved back to Norfolk, Virginia, where there were more facilities for retired military.

I lived in that same old house when my mom was a single mother living with her parents and, then, for nearly five years after she left my sister and I with with my grandparents to go gallivanting after the second husband (or was it the third?) who had left her. I've driven past the house numerous time over the years. I have mostly good memories from living there, but would never want to live there.

Ms Scarlet said...

I grew up with both a railway line, and a busy A road at the bottom of the garden. The bridge for the A road went over the railway. Late at night it was rumoured that nuclear waste was transported through our town along the tracks. Who knows?
Anyhow, no, I do not want to go back there! I miss the first house I lived in when I moved out of my parents house though - I wish I'd never moved.
Sx

helen devries said...

I have good memories of the house we had in Surrey ....it had a huge garden and backed on to open country.
Plenty of room in the house to avoid my mother as well...
Going back several years ago I found that the house had gone and the plot was occupied by blocks of flats...so no urge to buy!

Joanne Noragon said...

Isn't that astounding! My daughters revere that house, and I saw it as a cookie cutter house in a housing development full of judgmental women who saw me only as a divorced woman who should have slunk home to mommy. It would have been the same anywhere in the seventies, so I just got on with raising the kids and earning a living.

nick said...

Mike: Interesting that although you have happy memories of your childhood home, you have no wish to live there again.

Scarlet: Goodness, a railway line AND an A road! That must have taken some getting used to. I'm amazed at the number of people who live on busy main roads and seem totally adjusted to it.

nick said...

Helen: Jenny also lived in a house with a large garden and backing on to open countryside (and it still does). She's very fond of the house but wouldn't want to live there.

Joanne: Good for you, ignoring all the sniffy neighbours and just getting on with your life. As you say, the seventies were still rife with that sort of tut-tutting.

Wisewebwoman said...

Couldn't wait to get out of my childhood home. I absolutely despised it.

XO
WWW

anonymous said...

Like many do when starting out,my parents had a dream that our home and life would be idyllic. Beset with the reality of more work, bills and problems than expected, they did their best...there was love there,and hurting... I might enjoy turning the place into everything they had hoped for. Mary

tammy j said...

this might sound bitter but i truly don't mean it to. i have no fond memories of any home. there were too many of them. once i added them all up and they came to over 38 as i recall. when a new post we would take what we could to get settled and then mother and i would look to upgrade.
mainly i only remember that she made it all fun. my Gram finally told us "you people can gallivant all over the country if you want to but i'm staying HERE!" she bought a house.
'here' was Colorado. and i dearly loved it. i remember states more than houses.
and we lived in some pretty ones. she and my mother wound up back in upstate NY after daddy died. that was beautiful.

CheerfulMonk said...

We've lived in this apartment for over 40 years now, and here is where I have the most happy memories. It's not fancy, but we never want to move.

nick said...

www: I know you had some miserable experiences as a child, so that doesn't surprise me.

Mary: I think it comes as a shock to many of us that adult life isn't as easy and idyllic as we imagined it would be. As long as your parents gave you the best childhood they could, that's the main thing.

nick said...

Tammy: Moving around so much must have been very unsettling. It's understandable that you have no fond memories of any of them. But I'm glad you liked Colorado and upstate New York. And now you have your splendid minimalist apartment!

Jean: Living somewhere for over 40 years is quite something. Obviously a place where you're very happy. Especially with all those wide open spaces around you.

Rummuser said...

In my growing up years as well as in my working life we lived in so many different cities and homes that I never developed any affection as such for any of them. I have lived in the same home now for the past 28 years and I love it. I can't imagine living anywhere else.

Polly said...

I suppose it all depends on the house and memories. My first memory is of a nissen hut type of house, which wasn't very nice but the next one was nice and I have happy memories but wouldn't want to buy it. I'm happy with my current home.

nick said...

Ramana: That sounds a bit like Tammy's situation - constantly on the move from place to place. If you've been in the same home for 28 years, you must indeed be fond of it.

Polly: I think you have a lot of countryside close to your house, which would be one good reason for staying put.

BrightenedBoy said...

Most people probably associate those homes with warmth and love and safety, but for those of us whose childhoods were unhappy the issue is a bit thornier. Incidentally, I've often reflected on how one person's beloved childhood home was their parents' fresh new start. Every happy memory begins with a step into the future, and creating your own sacred spaces seems like an important part of emerging into adulthood. Or at least that's my take on it.

nick said...

BrightenedBoy: Indeed, not at all of us experienced warmth and love and safety as children, and not all of us saw our childhood home as a sacred space. Some of us only find that sacred space in adulthood. Yes, an interesting duality that a cherished childhood home could also have been a new beginning for the parents.

Danielle L Zecher said...

I liked a lot of things about the house I grew up in, but there's no way I'd want it, and I like my house a lot more. My parents had way too much stuff in their house and were extremely fond of the phrase "under my roof, it's my rules". I like my own rules much better!

nick said...

Danielle: That was very much my father's line - Under my roof, it's my rules. And my parents' house was full of clutter as well - mainly my mother's, she was always a habitual hoarder.

Terry said...

I liked where were we grew up. It had a railway line at the bottom of the garden but that didn’t seem to matter so much. We had so many happy memories there.

nick said...

Terry: The railway line behind our house was noisy, but at the same time I liked watching the trains go by and imagining them at their destinations.