Monday, September 28, 2009
They say Time heals all wounds. I've discovered, over time, that time also changes all things. During my last visit I got to go inside and see the old farmhouse where I had lived as a child. I also visited my grandparents' old house in Skaneateles, and walked around the yard at Aunt Marion (Parsons') house on Cherry Road.
Like all people, I had kept the images of these historic places (my historic places) alive in my mind as they were back then. In the process, the houses became bigger and the images of each room and the events that took place there became more important for me.
Unaware of just how much the sands of time does wrought change upon a house, I visited each place expecting a long-awaited glimpse into the past. Maybe I would even find Marion or Grandma Grace waiting for me there...just maybe. If they weren't there, I'd have to accept the fact that they are gone.
To my surprise, each house is now unrecognizable, no longer the house that lived a life with the people who lived there in the 1880s, the early nineteen hundreds, the 1950s, '60s, and '70s. By now, several generations of different families have lived out their lives in these houses. With each passing generation, walls were torn down, put up, turned this way and that. Additions were added. Even a stairway was covered and hidden so that the current owners had no idea that once there was a long wooden stairway that one little girl named Nancy like to slide down in her pajamas with feet, listen to the adults talking softly in the livingroom.
Without the memories of those that lived here before, the lives lived inside of houses and school buildings will be lost to those who live and learn there today. I've come to understand that change is predictable and sometimes productive. But shared memories can keep the lessons and the accomplishments of the past alive. You know how they say, "If only these walls could talk?" Walls can't talk, but we who were once there can talk for them.
I heard recently that the owners of the old farmhouse are going to see if they can find the old staircase.