It can be disturbing to ‘go’ home again #672

#672 in a series of true experiences in real estate

It can be disturbing to ‘go’ home again

Anet’s childhood home is for sale. We saw it online. Granite City, Illinois, 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, $119,000.

“Disturbing” Anet said more than once, but she couldn’t stop looking. I was sitting on the couch when for some reason I don’t know, I put Anet’s old house address into Google on my phone. I wasn’t expecting much, but amazingly, a lot of different links came up. The first was a street view and a street map. I’ve never been there so I didn’t know what was what. I said, “Hey, look, somewhere here is your old house,” and I handed her my phone so she could see.

She seemed shocked or maybe just mesmerized. At first she didn’t recognize anything but then as she moved through the “movie” she began to tell me whose house was whose. “Here’s the Beckers, they were across the street. That’s the house next door where Noz and her husband Charlie lived, really nice people.”

The phone screen is small and she wanted to know if the swim club was still there so she went and got her tablet. Now we could both look at the pictures. “That house was where the Wilsons lived. They had 5 children.” Noting that all kinds of details on the houses were given, I said that the Wilson house was only 1000 square feet, must have been very crowded with that big family.

Anet looked for the swimming pool property where she had spent every summer day, all day long. It was still there, right behind her house. “Where are the trees? All the street trees?” she asked. “They’re all gone.” Anet has not been back to Granite City for many years. Her mother sold the house about 20 years ago.

“See how flat the land is there,” Anet said. “I told you it was flat.” She moved around the neighborhood on-screen and found the Orthodox Church. The church has a website and on it are photos of the parishioners at Easter, children with Easter baskets, the girls all dressed up in dresses, the boys in suits, even some photos of circle dancing in the recreation hall which, Anet explained, “was in that separate building there, across the street from the church.”

What she found disturbing was her own old house. It took awhile but she was able to point out the right house to me. And then we both changed to the photos on the realtor’s website. No dates so we aren’t sure how long it’s been for sale or if it has sold. But lots of interior photos and, according to Anet, everything is different, changed, not right.

“This is the family room that my parents added on, see the fireplace, a really big room, must be 20 feet by at least another 20.”

“The kitchen, I can’t think how this can be the same kitchen and there used to be a wall there. It’s gone. And this wall, too,” She pointed. “When they redid the house, they changed the walls and they don’t make any sense. I think this is when she first added the word “disturbing”.

The house was furnished and seemed to be currently lived in. “The living room has been changed to a bedroom. See that’s the front door. Well, not the same front door we had but a door to the front yard.”

“Here’s my bedroom. Well, my sister’s and my bedroom. And that’s the hallway bath. What did they do with the other bath? I can’t find it but it must be there.”

She went back to the family room several times, telling me happy stories. The Orthodox priests would come to visit, several at one time. They’d stay for dinner which Anet’s Mom cooked and served. They wore full-length black robes and tall black hats. They removed their hats, placed them together on a table, which Anet tells me looked quite wonderful. The priests were fun and funny, full of laughter and jokes. After dinner, they would ask Anet’s Mom to sing with them. Together they sang, in Macedonian, the old songs of the church.

The family had held many celebrations there, including Name Day for Anet’s Dad. Lots of people, many days of preparing ethnic foods, then laying out trays and dishes, glasses, chairs. Good memories of another time.

“It’s all changed now. Same address, different house. Disturbing.” she said again.

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