Sunday, June 24th, 2018

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Memories through time of childhood home


Having been told that something has been destroyed doesn’t really mean you have to believe it, does it?

Some time ago, I was told the house my family lived in before we moved to Chagrin Falls had been torn down. This did not seem possible and, in fact, seemed like a terrible misunderstanding.

This wasn’t just an ordinary house — it was a two-story brick Victorian rectory which had been built right next to my father’s church, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Norwalk. The church was so close that it sounded like the sacristy door was in my bedroom when my father slammed it on his way in for the 8 o’clock service.

We, my two and soon-to-be three brothers and I had never lived anyplace for more than a year. Between the Navy and the church, we were moved around a lot which seemed perfectly normal to us. The move from Norwalk to Chagrin Falls was a total mistake as we children were concerned. We wanted to be Norwalk Truckers forever and I was about to be a junior in high school. What made it perfectly infuriating was that everyone seemed to think we had come from Norwalk, Connecticut.

It was a wonderful house and I can see every inch of it in my mind’s eye. There were two parlors, one on each side of the front hall. The staircase was next, on the right, as was the side door of the house. The telephone lived on a small table near the door. There was a large dining room beyond the stairs and a room to the left where the television set was and some comfortable chairs.

Upstairs there were two bedrooms in the front of the house with a full bath between. Down the hall to the right was where the two older boys slept. I was across the hall in a room that had such a big closet I always felt it could be a nursery. My mother didn’t seem to agree with me. The big bathroom at the back of the house had a claw-foot tub which was a wonderful place to take a bath. Then there was a back staircase down to the kitchen. I still think back stairways are so useful.

I suppose it wasn’t decorated in any particular fashion but I always thought it was just perfect. I expected to live there until I left home but; alas it wasn’t meant to be. We were dragged kicking and screaming from a bustling, beautiful city to a small village we had never seen on our journeys to Cleveland to see the World Champion Indians play.

Now the house is gone. They didn’t pave paradise and put in a parking lot — they planted grass. It is so disconcerting it took me a while to figure out exactly where the house was. I had to relate it to that sacristy door.

Someone told a friend the house had been torn down because the old bricks were crumbling but I don’t believe it. I think it got old and was unused much of the time and it was no longer needed as a rectory.

When I dream about my childhood home, this is the house of my dreams and it always will be. They can’t take that away from me.

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