Monday, June 18, 2012

Visiting the Past

Not long ago, we had occasion to drive through Arcadia, California, the city where we’d lived for seventeen years. We bought our first home where we raised our daughter there in 1970. Fortunately Larry’s cousin purchased the house from us and still owns it, so it remained in the family. That alone made it easier to leave.

We ate breakfast at one of the restaurants we’d enjoyed when we lived there. At that time (twenty-five years ago), the population was primarily white-haired seniors. On our recent visit, however, the place was packed with young families of several ethnicities. It felt good to know that the area was once again alive and that a new generation would be growing up there.

Many of the familiar stores and other businesses were gone and replaced with newer ventures.


Driving by the old house was an exercise in nostalgia. It looked fresh and well-maintained. Of course, the roof line is different than when we first moved in. A fire in 1980 required replacing the original. We decided to go for a full gable on the front. The yard has also been completely replaced. The tree roots had lifted the brick entry so that it had become dangerous. There is now a nice railing around the porch and a new front door.


The same afternoon, we found ourselves in Alhambra, the town where we’d grown up, so we decided to drive down Main Street to see what it looked like now. We were surprised that several of the old businesses remained. Since they were family-owned establishments and we had moved away many years before, we were delighted to see them.

We also drove to the neighborhood where we had both lived. All the houses looked well-preserved, and most had additions, including the ones we had been raised in. They were very small to start with, so the addition of more square footage was no surprise.


It was fun visiting the past, and we were grateful for the time spent in both locations, but we were also very happy to return to our current home in Dana Point. We adore the neighborhood, the neighbors, the proximity to the beach, and the house itself.

Have you ever gone back to places you’ve lived in the past? How did it feel? What did you learn?


  1. 17536 Rachel Circle in Eagle River, Alaska. My parents bought this house in 1984 when I was 1 year old! It was a wonderful 3 bedroom two story home that I grew up in. When I was 5, my dad took me took a wood/builders show in town and he entered his name in for a drawing to win enough wood to build a deck! I was selected out of the crowd to come up and draw a name...guess who I pulled out? Tom Poe, my dad! We had the builders come out and create a masterpiece! That deck was amazing and I grew up playing with my toys on it...we had sand boxes, kid-painting easels and we could fish off the back in our little pond! My mom had a lovely lilac tree she planted and I could smell it coming through the windows as I'd practice piano downstairs. I have many fond memories of living on that culd-e-sac. My brother and I had many friends that lived up the street and we miss it dearly. My senior year of high school, my parents decided to sell it and move into something a little smaller. I had lived in that house for 17 years! It was so hard to say goodbye but every time I'm back in Alaska for a visit, I drive by just to reminisce. It's hard to see it not taken care of like it used to be...but at least it's still standing! I will never forget my childhood home. Thanks for sharing your post:)

    1. Kasey, what wonderful memories! You may no longer have the house, but you'll always have those. My dad planted lilacs outside my bedroom window, even though they're not supposed to grow in Southern California. I remember waking on warm summer mornings to that fragrance.
      He also planted sweet peas, and they are still my favorite flower.
      But that first home was also the house we lived in when he died, so there are many sad memories as well. I lived there from age two until I married at 19.
      On the other hand, my memories from the first house we bought are very sweet. That's where we raised Kim, and we had great neighbors.
      Thank goodness we get to keep the memories - good and bad.
      Bless you, my friend.