While Viv and I were at the nordic behemoth’s caves, I received a voicemail from an old friend in Bloomington, someone I knew in high school and later in the music scene: he and his wife and kids have moved into my childhood home on the far east side of town. Far out. I have no idea how he figured out that it used to be our house.
I have a bunch of stories for him, obviously.
It might be fun to work on them here, too. Writing about that house and my mostly negative feelings about it might be beneficial for me in relation to this place. I really hated living there, because it was so far away from things I wanted to be close to in the center of town. What’s a bit odd is that I remember kind of hating it when I was a little kid too, before I could have cared about living on the outskirts of town.
When we first moved there, the subdivision was still partially in development, raw dirt piles, empty lots, road graders and the like just down the road. Playing in the dirtpiles was fun, sculpting cities of mud and riding bikes up and down the transient midwestern arroyos.
It still felt like we were too far from anything to bother even wanting to leave the house. The Mall was a bit over a mile away toward town, but of course these postwar developments are pedestrian-hostile, and that’s unbearable for a child. Once I was old enough to walk to the mall on my own, around age 12, I found it essentially repulsive and lost interest in visiting.
Our house was relatively old, having been constructed in the mid-sixties on a very traditional plan. I suppose if Viv and I had seen the place in another context out here while looking for the place we eventually bought I would rather have liked it, although it would have been well beyond our means – the place has two master bedroom suites, three and a half baths, five bedrooms, a living room, a family room with an open plan kitchen, a dining room, fireplace, basement, two-car garage, level RV-size driveway, and a freaking huge lot – the specific reason I hate the very idea of yardwork, actually. It’s backed by an immense farm, overgrown back to 80-year forest and apparently owned and under the benevolent protection of a local rockstar in accordance with the wishes of my late ex-neighbor Mary, who was responsible for regrowing the forest as well as keeping a chicken barn full of cats and a semi-feral dog pack back in the wood.
The farm’s last buildings burned down in 1983 or 1984, as I recall, but you could still see the lanes the farmer’s family had carefully bordered with a profusion of daffodils every spring.