Thursday, April 12, 2012


 When my family and I moved away from my childhood home in Southern Cali in late 1974 I never expected I'd ever see the inside of the house again.  I don't know about you but I'm not the kind of person who is willing to walk up to the front of a house, knock on the door and announce to the current resident that I once lived in their house and then ask to come in a look around.
But thankfully my big sister is.

Well, sort of!

My brother Bill and I asked begged her to do it!

Linda actually asked if we could take pictures in our old front yard and the kindest man EVER not only said yes, but invited us inside as well!  I can't even begin to tell you all what a blessing this was for the three of us.

I never dreamed when I walked out of that home in August 1974 that I'd ever peek inside it again.  It's been nearly 38 years since my family called the tiny house on Sigman Street home.
 Now...this is not our home...but it's nearly identical to what it looked like back in 1962.  I grew up in a track-home neighborhood where every fourth house was the same.  This house is a couple streets away and not far from the one my parents bought for less than $10K.  The home above still has the crank out glass slated windows and the original garage.  Betcha it has a wall heater and no AC either!
A few years ago this is what our home looked like.  The windows were updated and the garage door replaced.  It also had a newer roof as the one we had was originally rock.
 The house today is in the process of being completely updated and lots of remodeling is taking place on the inside.  The original 950SF floor plan has probably been doubled in size as additions have been added to both sides and across the entire back.  The windows have once again been changed and the front door enlarged and repositioned.
 See this sweet picture above?  It was taken in January 1974 before the Winter Formal hosted by our high school.  That is Linda and I (on the left) all dressed up and ready to go.  I had just turned 15 and that guy was my BLIND DATE (I never saw him again)!  In the picture the doorjamb you can barely see behind me is shown in the photo below...
 The ceilings in the house have been raised and if you look carefully at the wall above the door you can see where the original ceiling once was.  To the left of this doorway we had a raggedy old wall was tiny and had to heat the entire house.  I use to dry my hair in front of it as a teenager and when I was little I tried to dry the hair of my Midge Barbie Doll but ended up melting off her, um...chest!

(Isn't it funny what you remember?)

The white door you see in the hallway is the only bathroom we had in our home at the time...
Linda and I never had any pictures taken of us in our bedroom while growing up and so I was very excited when the current owner allowed us to snap some pictures.  I can't even begin to tell you how tiny this room is!  My French Provincial twin headboard was against the wall where you see the lamp and Linda's was on the other side.  A wee little chest was between our beds and a matching one was by the door. 
I remember clearly the day I snapped this picture of my daddy back in 1969.  Long before he fell prey to the MONSTER IN THE BRAIN he was vibrant, healthy and strong.  He was weeding out the area around our water meter...
I'm not sure why, but I was overwhelmed with the thought of snapping a picture of the same area before we drove away.  I love how both the cement cracks/seams can be seen in each photo.  What I wouldn't give to have seen my father sitting there as well.  :....(

I know we can never really go 'home' once we've grown up and moved away.  But...even though the decor and the layout of my childhood home has greatly changed it was a blessing to be allowed back inside.  In many ways it will always be HOME for me.
(Thank you God...Thank you Mr. Nguyen!)
Want to know one of the life-lessons I learned while on this trip? 
Someday if some nice looking siblings knock on my front door with a bunch of childhood pictures showcasing our La Chaumière de Briarwood I'll think twice before turning them away.
 Hope your day is blessed!  More about my Cali Trip soon!

Love to you...


EllenaElizabeth said...

How special. I can't believe the amount of work that the house has undergone, even raising the ceilings, and presumably the roof in the process. And what do you mean by the house originally having a rock roof? I'm in Australia and I'm not familiar with that term. Do you mean some sort of tile? Anyhow I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post. I did one similar the other day, all nostalgic like. Thanks for sharing.

sunnyskiesandsweettea said...


How special.... I moved away from my childhood neighborhood and my parents did as well. My parents never did sell our childhood home. When we had to come back to the city due to my husbands business. We bought it from my parents! Talk about a labor of love. We have been doing updates every six months. It has been really great. Every nook and cranny is filled with a memory. My Dad built this house, and I remember the hard work and thought my Dad and Mom put into this home. Sometimes it makes the changes a little hard :)

Amy Jo

Theresa said...

What a wonderful post! I enjoyed EVERY word and picture! I love looking back and comparing our memories to what it looks like today! Can't wait to hear more:) Have a blessed day my friend, HUGS!

Maria said...

That must have been so special to be back.Love your post and the pictures.
What i learned from it is to make more pictures of my house for later when my son is grown.

Sherri B. said...

How nice that you all were greeted with open arms at the home of your youth, thanks for sharing that happy occasion. xo

Patty Patterson said...

How neat that you were allowed to go inside! And it is amazing how back in the day families got by with so little space. I guess we didn't have as much junk back then... but then, there wasn't nearly as much to have.

Betty@SouthernGrace said...

Just found your beautiful blog. I am now a follower. This post brought tears to my eyes. We built a house 6 yrs ago. We lived in our old house 28 yrs...we still ride by and just park and stare. It's almost Twlight Zone-ish. We always say we could just go right in and pick up where we left off. Memories are precious... I feel I have found a sentimental kindred spirit.

Anne said...

You are lucky to be able to view your childhood home.It looks like they are keeping it up beautifully.What sweet people to invite you in.

NanaDiana said...

How very wonderful that you were able to do that, Rebecca! I am so happy for you- I am sure it was kind of bittersweet though. I can never go home again. Our old house was burned to the ground about 12 years ago...and the barns had been taken down before that. I haven't been back since- even though my brother still owns the ground they stand on. I plan on going next summer and I think it will be pretty emotional for me.

Blessings to you today-I absolutely LOVED this post. xo Diana

Julie Marie said...

Oooh Rebecca, I have goosebumps!... I loved this post... and you know what, I AM that kind of person who knocks on the door and asks to see inside... infact, I did just that... you know I post often about my own childhood home and my cherished memories from there... I drive past it often, but one day on a whim I stopped and knocked on the door... the lady asked me inside and it was deja vu (but for real!) walking around inside... although it too had been remodeled much, as I glanced around, my eyes saw my mama and my daddy, sitting by our fireplace in the living room... and my sister and I playing dolls in our little bedroom we shared... although the cherry trees that surrounded our home are long gone, I could almost smell their sweet blossoms once more... I DO think you can go back home now and then... even for just a little while... I am so happy you got to do that... and aren't you happy someone is loving it now and taking care of it as much as your family did?... you and I are such sentimental ladies... much love to you, xoxo Julie Marie

HOPE said...

I haven't had the fun of entering into a prior childhood home..but with google earth..I have had wonderful FUN traveling down the exact streets I walked and played at...seeing MY old homes..some still there and yes, some redone. Amazing to see trees grown...but yet, little things still the same. Such memories flow through your mind and heart.

Loved your journey...I lived in Montere Ca. left in 1974 also!


Unknown said...

Love all the pic's Rebecca, what a gerat look back and my how things change. Someday our families will do the same, remembering when? Hugs and love Marilou

Mariette VandenMunckhof-Vedder said...

Dearest Rebecca,

Indeed, for asking this it feels like odd... The home is there but it is not the same anymore as when you used to live there. The soul of a family resides inside a home as well. But for sure it did bring back wonderful memories of your happy childhood time.
Love to you,


stefanie said...

oh, that is the best that Miranda Lambert song!

Miss Gracie's House said...

This is a fun post...but I bet it was so special for you...especially, to have your brother and sister there, too!

{Bellamere Cottage} said...

My Dear Rebecca...

OH MY GOSH... how fun! How special it must have felt to be in your childhood home. :-) I'll NEVER ask to go through mine. Holy cow. I also grew up in a tiny home... about 1,000 sq ft........which, judging from the outside must be a total dump inside. My Mum couldn't even bear to drive by it.......the blinds are still there.... well, little bits of them, still hanging in the windows. YUK. And, the house my daughter grew up in has the same story. They wanted to buy it exactly as it was, everything inside included because they loved it so much. Well, just imagine a sweet little house with a big 'ol cyclone fence around it and a trailer on the front "grass"'s scary!

Big hugs to you......I'm so happy that you enjoyed your trip "home". :-)


Unknown said...

What a sweet post.
My husband did the very same thing with his brother. They were able to go inside their childhood home in Westlake Village. They were so glad they did!
Thanks for sharing.

Dolores said...

How wonderful that you could go inside your childhood home.....I've dreamed of that for myself.

A beautiful journey you had with your sister and brother....sweet picture of your dad.

Terri Smith said...

Goodness Gracious, This Was The Most Endearing Post! I Smiled During Particular Moments (the cute Midge Story) Biggest Southern Grin Ever! And I Smiled Some More ~ Only In A Different Way When Seeing Your Daddy Weeding Around The Water Meter. Wouldn't It Be Somethin' If One Day That Nice Couple You Hope To See, Drops By Your Place For A Similar Tour? Visiting You Sure Helped Me Today. Bringing To Light That This Life Can Certainly Bring Such Beautiful Memories. And I'm Learning Rebecca, That In My Mama's Passing, That Death Can Also Bring Beauty If We Look Deep Enough To See. I've Done That Now. Taken The Time To See. Just Think, There's No Alzheimers In Heaven. Knowing That Sometimes Helps Me When I'm Missing My Mama The Most. I Want To Sincerely Thank You For Reaching Out To Me Following My Most Recent Post. God Has Shown Me So Much During The Darkness Of The Past Six Months, And Your Voice Of Comfort And Compassion Is Another Gift I'm Adding To The Ever~Growing "Light" Within My Spirit. Sending You Much Love & Sunshine This Glorious Friday, Terri

Unknown said...

Hey sweet friend!
How wonderful that you were able to take a trip back in time to see where many memories were made. When hubby and i visit my home town in the Seattle area we often drive through my 'old' neighborhood to see what has happened to the home i lived in for over 23 the one hubby and i bought as newlyweds. So many memories, but ive never been so brave as to approach and ask to peek inside..hmmmm, you never know. So glad you had a great time with your fam!
Big hugs,

Rita said...

Rebecca, my sister and I made a memory trip about 10 years ago, back to Germany where we lived when we were young. Our dad was in the military. When we got there, the lady that lived there then invited us to come in and see the place we lived so long ago. Oh what a trip it was for us. I know how you felt and am so glad that you got to do that on this trip! It brings make many wonderful memories!

TheMuffinMan said...

Maybe some day one of your own children and their family will be able to return to claim ownership of their childhood home and we won't have to worry about being on the outside looking in.


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