There are at least nineteen of them, the houses I have lived in. For a long time, I’ve wanted to go back to all of the places I have called home and take pictures of how they are today. On our most recent adventure, Mom and I visited one of our old towns, Robersonville, NC.
It was a good trip, and good to see our old stomping grounds, but it was also sort of sad. Like many places across the United States, it seems that the Great Recession hit Martin County pretty hard. The county used to be bustling with a strong agriculture based economy; tobacco and tomatoes were the big crops during our tenure there. From the pictures I am sharing you can tell that this was probably a very affluent community back in the early 1900s. During the time we lived there, the neighborhood was a well cared for, if blue-collar area.
Robersonville was the only “in town” place I lived as a kid. That is to say, we lived with neighbors right next door, sidewalks, and an icecream truck that drove through our neighborhood on blazing summer afternoons. I called my side walk “Hiccup Avenue” because the gigantic trees had roots that pushed up the sidewalks, causing my bike to jump up as rode, like hiccups! Those big beautiful trees are gone now, but the broken sidewalks still remain.
We brought our cats with us from Marshville, where we had last lived. Their names were Alamo (a striped orange-nosed Tom) and Eleanor (a small gray lady that had once been feral). I can remember my mom talking to them as we drove them to their new home. They were nervous and she sing-songed to them about their new lives as “Martin County cats”. Life felt like it would be so cosmopolitan there!
And it was, for me.
This first picture is from one of the houses on the corner where you turned to get to our old house. This house sat across the street from a similar house, but the other one had a veranda with a ceiling painted sky blue. Mom and I wondered if the paint job would still be blue…
…and it was.
The house next to ours was a Sears & Roebuck kit house. I don’t remember anyone living there during our time on that street. Although my mother denies it, I remember my parents bribing me to lean across the fence and use the pecan picker-upper to pick up the pecan crop that would have otherwise lay in waste. JC Penny’s (though not Sears) still printed a big Christmas catalog back then, and I remember being amazed that once upon a time, houses like the one next door could be ordered just like a Barbie doll or a pair of Keds sneakers!
Here is our old house.
Despite the age and changes, there were things that made me feel happy about the house; the dog in the back yard, the little lanterns hanging on the front porch, the patio table. I imagine the family sitting out there and having supper together. I imagine the kids sitting on the wide brick railings and reading Laura Ingalls Wilder books, like I did. I imagine that at Christmas you can see the tall-tall Christmas tree all aglow in the foyer. I imagine there is a kid who has the bedroom upstairs, left of the port-cochere, who believes in magic and loves the Beach Boys, but maybe doesn’t still have the hot pink shag carpet anymore.