Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Different Ashes to Ashes Kinda Story...

A few days ago, as my aged mom was getting ready to go see another doctor for yet another test, I walked just four doors down the block to 5115 Music Street and snapped these photos. Yes, if you ask, was this damage caused by Katrina and subsequent flood of 2005, but to me, it represents so much more. 

For this was a house that was once the home to one of my childhood friends whose husband just recently passed away after fighting a lifetime of physical ailments. It also was a place I spent many a summer day learning how to hold a hammer, screw in a screw by hand and tighten a bolt with the right wrench. I learned how to handle a variety of hand saws, correctly measure lengths, shop for the right kind of lumber, hang drywall, plaster and putty and paint and plumb and tons of other skills that have come in handy over my adult life. But most of all, it is where I earned my weekly allowance.

I came early over to this house, in order to have some breakfast including the obligatory cooked prunes and if you were late, you were just out of luck. My chores were sweeping up leaves and debris, cutting and edging lawns, trimming box woods, hydrangeas, legustrums and other assorted bushes, flowers and plants as well as, annually touch up the bird bath with acrylic paint. For my services, I received just enough money to get on my bike and ride a couple of miles to the hobby shop where I would completely blow the mornings wages on paint, glue and the latest model airplane kit. At that age, my hero artists were John Steel, Bill Campbell, Jo Kotula, Jack Leynnwood and Tom Morgan because they were the ones who painted those gorgeous model box covers for companies like Revell, Aurora, Monogram, Airfix, Bachmann, Lindbergh, Hawk, and RenWal. Besides the John Nagy, "Learn to Draw" set, I learned much from building and especially painting the models to look as close as I could to what I saw on the boxtop.

This house also doubled as a garage studio where four teenagers would listen to records, record the lyrics and practice our chops when my dad had enough of us practicing in his garage. It is also, at the age of sixteen, where I had an appendicitis attack under the house tightening a water pipes in the dead of summer.

Although I know I have photos, it would take me a month of Sundays to find a picture of how this house once looked in its prime around 1965. It would be decades before I would ever see the inside of the house I spent so much of my youth living and learning in, helping fix up and sharing the good and the bad times. They say you should never go back and memories are better left in black and white, and I concur, but it is really hard to see this house this way, this house, a home once owned by my maternal grandparents, Pops and Cecilia Fortier. And in many ways, as they say, it is indeed, hard to grow old!

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