Is it unusual not to feel any particular attachment to, say, the house you grew up in? Maybe it’s because we moved so frequently and the houses we were in seldom belonged to the family, but I can’t say I feel any particular attachment to the houses, apartments, and neighborhoods of my past. I can look back fondly on some of the places I’ve lived as an adult, but it’s not like I ever stayed long enough to put down roots. Now that I own a house – or slightly over 20% of a house, I guess – my plan is to stay put barring any amazing job offers across the country or natural disasters. Which means my children will spend their entire childhoods in this one wee house, in this one suburban coastal neighborhood.
Will my daughter and my future children feel a strong attachment to our house and our town, our beach and our neighbors, looking back fondly once they’ve moved away?
I don’t even know if their memories will be accurate. As with all things, I can imagine that there’s a tendency to view the past through rose colored glasses, so a house that was falling apart becomes charming and an apartment that was cold and drafty becomes full of character and quirks. I can already feel myself doing just that with the apartment in Brooklyn that was in a hub of gang activity and surrounded by who knows what else. The finish on the floor was flaking off and would give me splinters. There were critters. But the view from my windows and the fire escape was amazing and there was a shop nearby that made the most amazing fresh doughnuts and another shop that sold fried chicken sandwiches on sweet buns for a buck. It was hell and it was heavenly, both, and I’d never want to go back to it.
Tell me about some of the homes of your past… do any of them still tug at your heartstrings and make you feel wistful?