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Photographs and Memories

July 19th, 2020 at 10:28 pm

When I was a little girl, my dad would take me to Fairfield, Iowa, to visit my great aunt during the summer. I would stay a week with her. She lived in this old house that had been made into three apartments. I remember loving that old house with the huge glass in the front door, the beautiful woodwork, and the light fixtures. Huge evergreens flanked the driveway. My aunt's apartment had a turret and that was her bedroom closet. The people who lived on the first floor had a huge apartment with a side porch. It was a nice time and a beautiful house. Sadly I only got to visit a few summers until she got very ill.

One of the projects since I've retired is to go through photographs. When I was a classroom teacher, I would invite people to come and speak to my class and take photographs. When I retired, I went through these photos and mailed them to the people who were in them, some from 30 years before. I figured they might enjoy seeing them.

Anyway, I ran across the 4 photos I took during the summer of 1970. I would have been 9 years old that summer I spent with my great aunt. I had taken two photos of the outside of that glorious house and two inside. One of the ladies who lived on the first floor and this one showed the lovely fireplace mantle and vintage chandelier. The other was one I sneaked of my aunt in her apartment; she wasn't happy with that. These photos were taken with an Instamatic? Remember those? So, a 9 year old with an Instamatic, not exactly quality shots, but still a little remembrance. I wasn't allowed to take many photos when I was a kid because it was expensive to develop film.

The other day I decided to Google the address to see if the house was still standing. To my amazement, Zillow had it, said it was a single family home, and had a recent photo of the outside. I was pleased it still looked nice.

I decided to be bold and I wrote a note addressed to the owners of the address and included the photographs and wrote about my staying there with my aunt and the two ladies who lived below my aunt's apartment. I started the note with "I am not wanting or expecting anything so please take the time to read my note." I explained I was 9 when I took the photos, but I talked about how lovely I thought the house was even then and I was delighted to see it was a single family home. I expected nothing in return.

I received a pleasant surprise. The owner wrote back and talked about how they love the old house, that the woodwork is still intact as is the vintage ceilings and light fixtures and how much they love the home. She thanked me for the photos.

I realize this has nothing to do with finances. However, it made me remember some good times of my youth and how happy I was to learn about the house and that it is still faring well. I think sometimes we need to stop and think about things in our lives and how they can bring us satisfaction or happiness.

10 Responses to “Photographs and Memories”

  1. Wink Says:

    Thank you for sharing this. It's a beautiful memory and it made me smile!

  2. Petunia 100 Says:

    This is a wonderful story. It brought a smile to my face; thank you for sharing.

  3. Laura S. Says:

    I love this story! Thanks so much for sharing!

  4. CB in the City Says:

    I had a similar experience when I found the house I lived in in Cleveland Heights up for sale. It was on one of those realtor sites with a ton of pictures. I only lived there about two years, when I was in elementary school, but they were memorable ones. The house had three full floors, a fireplace, a sunroom, a flagstone patio, and a beautiful yard with mature trees. It was the nicest house we ever lived in. From the pictures, it looked like the house had weathered very well. I didn't try to find the owner, since it was in transition. But it made me happy just to see it! I'm glad you were able to connect with the owner and that the house is still loved.

  5. Lots of Ideas Says:

    My grandmother lived in a beautiful but not well maintained home. It is the House I think of when I think of ‘home’ even though I never lived there, just spent a few days at a time. She was the kind of grandmother who always had time to read a story, bought my favorite raspberry sherbet, let us ‘play’ her piano for hours. She had no money but was rich with live.

    Last Summer, one of my cousins visited from across the country and we had a small reunion. I was pleased to realize that my cousins - especially those older than me - feel the same about the house. The visiting cousin and I took a road trip and ‘visited’ the house but no one was home so we saw only the outside. It seemed well maintained, but lacked the grades that were my grandmother’s pride and joy.

    There are places I remember
    All my life though some have changed
    Some forever, not for better
    Some have gone and some remain

    All these places have their moments
    With lovers and friends I still can recall
    Some are dead and some are living
    In my life I've loved them all


  6. Lucky Robin Says:

    What a cool experience, for you and for them. People enjoy hearing about the history of their homes and that was probably a very bright moment for them in these bleak times.

  7. Dido Says:

    What a lovely experience on both sides.

    Those old photos are a treasure.

  8. MonkeyMama Says:

    That is neat, thanks for sharing.

  9. rob62521 Says:

    Thank you, all, for your kind remarks. I was thrilled to get a response from the current owners. But even if I hadn't, I thought I bet they liked getting real mail and some old photos of their house.

  10. LifeBalance Says:

    What a great story! One early memory I have is being fascinated by the glass doorknobs of an old house. They were at my eye level which gives me some idea of how small I was. It's rare to see those today but they always remind me of that old house.

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