I went to the town I grew up in today. I moved there when I was 3 and havent been back since my Dad died in 1987. In some ways, it hasn’t changed much. There’s a big flyover now that wasn’t there before. The house we last lived in was at the side of the main A19, but now it’s quiet in that street as the road is way above. I went to the house and took a couple of photos. It’s different now; back in the day it was a little square box -a very 1970s council house. The street has been renovated and now the houses have roves and have been clad in brick…
it looked smaller, somehow.
i went to see my old schools, but all three of them have been demolished! The infant, junior and Grammar schools, all gone. It made me really sad, particularly as some of the other schools that were around then are still there!
the flat I once lived in has also deepen ddemolished and the White House, as it was known then is derelict. I used to go in there for art activities, etc….
Felt as though my entire past had been eradicated. They say it’s not good to go back and in this case I would agree. My life has been wiped from peterlee’s memory.
Then I went into the town centre and although it was basically the same, it was sadly run down and bleak. Was it always like that? I didn’t think so.
the first shops I saw included a pound land, a bookmaker, a pawn shop and a loan arranger. Then a derelict Woolworths, with the outline of the name still above the empty shop, still in the same spot it had been 30 years previously.
is it a dream? Did I ever live there?
The only definite record of my residence in Peterlee is my father’s grave. So I bought some yellow flowers (his favourite colour) and set off to Horden cemetery to find him.
it took a while, but I found the little slate headstone, with it’s simple wording, kept all neat and tidy my the groundsmen I spoke to while searching. There was some moss on the lettering, which I cleaned off, but there it was. I placed the flowers in front of the stone, as there was no vase. I’ve not been back ghee since the summer of 1987 when he died. So I sat for a while, told him I loved him, that I forgive him for not loving me and not protecting me enough. I’m sure he loved me in his own way….
so there it is. My record of a previous existence. I do exist!
2 thoughts on “Past life eradication”
I can’t decide whether going back to somewhere you once lived is exciting or sad. This is mainly because I can’t quite picture it. All my life I’ve lived within about 3 miles of where I was born. So there’s no real mystery to excite or sadden.
I don’t remember the first place I lived in for the first couple of years of my life. It was a prefab just two or three miles from here in what is now an incredibly expensive part of Blackheath, and was demolished maybe 50 years ago. I do remember the second place. It was in a block of flats just a mile from here. It is still there (and quite possibly some graphiti I scrawled into the plaster while having a childhood tantrum may still exist under the wallpaper).
Number three was a house that used to be just a few hundred yards from here. It was demolished in the late 1960s to make way for a new development. I walk through where the living room was every time I go to the bus stop behind Tescos.
Place number 4 is a mile or less away, and still exists. Then towards the end of 1983 I bought the house I currently live in, and it is a 10 – 15 minute walk away from Lewisham hospital where I was born.
Maybe I am a bit medieval. Apart from an occasional pilgrimage to the seaside, I have lived and worked (apart from my current job), and will probably die within the same town. It’s probably why I hate my commute to work. It’s only 6 miles away as the crow flies, but feels like terra incognito (or something like that).
Actually that sounds good to me. I don’t have any roots now. So it sounds quite comforting to have all that history so nearby.