You Can’t go Home Again
by Georgie Bright Kunkel
I used to dream about my first home that I was born in. Then I left this place for college and finally established a home with my husband right here in West Seattle. Not many West Seattleites remember the Little City Farms development. Those who wanted to rough it, so to speak, bought these four lot parcels and considered themselves living out in the country. Well, we bought the only remaining Little City Farm that was reduced to two lots. We inherited a garden already planted in peas and beans and a rabbit hutch where we actually raised rabbits for a time. They were for eating so we discouraged our children from making pets of them.
Our three children were literally bunked in the dinette room off the kitchen. The bathroom was entered through our bedroom and our second son sleepily walked out of the dinette through the living room and through our bedroom and into the bathroom at least once every night. What a surprise when we moved into the new home we later built next door. For the first few nights our son sleepily walked what he thought was his usual route to the bathroom but instead ended up peeing against the basement door down the hall from his bedroom. Old habits die hard, right?
It seems that our life in this little house lasted many years but actually it was only nine years during the period when I was fired three times for having babies. We finally decided to get a loan and build a house on our second lot. The first bank refused us the loan. The representative said I might become pregnant and would be fired again and my husband’s income alone wouldn’t be large enough to qualify. This was before the government started bailing out the banks. Finally we found a bank that took the risk and a couple of fellows, one a carpenter and the other an electrician, built us a home large enough for three children and one more yet to come.
Want to know how we got the drapes for the whole upper floor? An acquaintance in California was getting rid of some since she was changing the décor of her home. She said she would be coming up to Seattle and would drop them off for me. Lo and behold, one day I came home from my teaching position and there were two huge bags filled with lined draperies tucked behind the rhododendrons in our front yard. They needed hemming so I hung them first and then hemmed them and ironed them, moving my ironing board along as I finished each section.
After we sold the little house, it became a rental until recently when it was purchased by a fellow whose father used to have a repair garage in our neighborhood. It was time for the house to experience the wrecking bulldozer and make way for a larger home for another young couple. My new neighbor was so excited when she saw the bulldozer begin the wrecking process that she took her camera and recorded it all. I could not function after realizing that this place where I waddled around for nine months pregnant with each of my first three offspring was going to be wiped out. So I never actually got to the drug store for a camera. Yes, I know, I have a huge professional camera but I never learned how to use it so it lies dormant in favor of what I call the throwaway camera.
As I tearfully looked out at the demolition, I caught sight of my neighbor taking pictures of this earthshaking—and I do mean earthshaking—event. And no I can’t go home again—not to this home—but I am moving on in my life so I don’t ever need to go home again.
Georgie Bright Kunkel is a freelance writer who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-935-8663.