Sunday, September 21, 2008


There are a couple of definitions for the word, "retrospect"

1. contemplation of the past; a survey of past time, events, etc.

2. to look back in thought; refer back (often fol. by to): to retrospect to a period in one's youth.

I spent too many hours doing that very thing just the other night. I'm not sure how it all started, but I think it may have been while I was on the computer looking up places to see in Maine. Anyway, from there I ended up using the good vs. evil Google Earth and typed in my grandmother's street address. My grandmother was the cornerstone of my very existence. She was the only completely stable person in my life. I always knew she would be there, I knew she wasn't going to move away to a new place, and I knew there would always be familiar things for me surrounding her. I loved her so much and when she died in the late 1960's, a part of me died as well. Her home was the typical two story home for the time, in an quiet little neighborhood in a small town in Oklahoma. In my eyes as a child, it was a mansion. My "Nanny" grew beautiful flowers and fretted over her garden constantly. There were blankets of purple and yellow crocus in the early spring, moss roses in a black pot by the back gate, roses of every color and variety scattered around the backyard, irises and a peach tree along the driveway, and her favorites, tiger lilys and zinneas in the front yard along the fence that separated her house from the neighbors.
I loved that house. Well, my brother and I were convinced it was haunted and frankly I still believe that, but I loved it just the same. The huge porch with the glider where we would sit and swing for hours on hot summer nights after supper with our jars full of lightning bugs. Where my Nanny would sit and plan out her Sunday school lesson while I would nap.
It was everything a grandmother's house should be and I can close my eyes and tell you every piece of furniture in every room, right down to the pictures on the wall,even though the last time I was in her house was well over 30 years ago.
So, as I was saying, I typed in her address and the new and improved Google Earth soon pointed the way to her house. Why, I was even able to do a "street view" and actually walk down the street and stand directly in front of her house. As my computer generated self started walking, I got excited about seeing her home and as I counted the houses and knew that hers was next, I became a little scared. The other homes didn't look so great. And then, there I was. It didn't look anything like my Nanny's home so I continued to walk With just one more house on the block, I knew I had to back up, that I had passed it. I went back, and just sat at my computer staring at this horrible sight. The garden along the fence is gone, the peach tree and flowers too. The magnolia that my dad planted in the front yard isn't there...and the two tall evergreens were missing as well. There were old lawn chairs in the front yard, a truck in the driveway and the house just looked old and used up. I began to cry. How can this be? This home was so full of life and so beautiful...who let this happen? I looked around at the other homes, the neighbors I had known all my life. The Davis home was in shambles. The cute little front porch where Mrs. Davis used to give me ice cream that had been in her freezer way too long was falling down. Oh but Mrs. Newton's house still looked very regal and freshly painted. Mrs. Newton was a lavender haired little lady who gave piano lessons in her studio which was really a converted garage. I used to sit on the steps of Nanny's house and listen to her students play and wish with all my heart that I could take piano lessons. I never did.
Now I'm left with these disturbing images. No longer does my mind conjure up images of this beautiful flower filled yard and immaculate lawn. I'm trying desperately to bring those images back but it's all too fresh, too painful right now. I wish I had never looked. I wish I could take it back. Now I'm trying to remember who it was who said, "You can never go home again." Guess I'll have to Google that.

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