What is a monkeybox?

When I was a little girl, we had a pet monkey named Amanda. My Dad worked in the produce business, so each night he brought home that days culls in a big box - spotty cucumbers, pithy apples, limp celery, moldy oranges and the like. We called it a monkeybox. It was really just trash, but my Mom would take each piece of fruit and trim it, pare it and cut it up to make a beautiful fruit platter for Amanda. Even though it was deemed trash by one, it still had life left in it and was good for the purpose we needed it. That's how I live my life - thrifting, yard saling, looking for another's trash to be my treasure.

Friday, July 01, 2011

You Can't Go Back Home Again

When I was little, we lived in a nice big home back in Kansas.  It had a full basement, first floor and second floor.  The second floor was once an apartment and had a full working kitchen in it.  My bedroom was connected to the kitchen, so my Mom and Dad had installed several deadbolts and chain locks on the door to prevent the resident three year old from gassing herself while playing "house" in her fully equipped kitchen. 

My Mom kept the American flag out every day.  We had Mission style rockers and a porch swing on the front porch along with old crocks and ferns.  It was a nice home and fit into the neighborhood well. 
*Am I not the cutest?* :D

In April, we drove back by the house and tried to take a photo of the house the way it used to be in front of what it looks now.  I had seen it on a blog and thought it was a wonderful idea.  But, the placement of my photo, couples with rainy dreary weather, did not produce the sort of photo I had set out to get. 

Last weekend, I drove back by the house to take a closer look at it.  I did not like what I saw.
What a mess.  It breaks my heart. It was such a nice home.  Now it's just terrible.

But, I still have my memories. 

My invisible bestest friend lived out in the backyard inside the big tree. 

Once, as a tornado was barreling down our street, I remembered that I had left my baby doll in the backyard and my Dad ran out to save her for me. 

There was a downstairs apartment in the house next door and a man in his forties lived there and I had a HUGE crush on him. 

My Mom used to let me watch Lassie in the living room while she cooked dinner every night.  But, during that hour, the sun would go down and the living room would start to get really dark about the time something scary happened on Lassie.  I'm still scared of that show.

I feel on the floor that separated the living room from the dining room and ripped my knee open on a row of carpet tacks.  My Grandmother came over and put butterfly bandages on it and I got to eat a lot of ice cream.

At one point, my Dad owned eight cars and they were parked in the driveway one after the other.  The back two wouldn't start so he had to ride his bike to work. 

I learned to use scissors and cut out coupons in that house.  "Pockin'" was one of my first words - Coupon in baby talk. 

When I was four, my Mom's brothers came over and drank apple wine in the front yard.  I went around to each person asking for "just a sip" of Apple wine and since I was so stinkin' cute (see above photo) everyone gave me a sip or two and sometimes even three.  Fast forward an hour when I told my Mom I didn't feel too good as I pitched forward off the toilet.  Drunk as a dog at the tender age of four. 

I imagine that on my next trip back, that house might even be gone.  It will make me sad to see it gone, but then again, it's just not what it used to be.

Have you ever tried to go back home again?

*I opted to PhotoShop the old photo into the new one.  No glare and it worked!


  1. Shara, what a sad sight that house is! I still go home because my parents still live in the house that I was born and raised in. But it isn't the same. My parents (mostly my dad) have become hoarders over the years and have filled the house with stuff. There is no room to move around inside the house anymore. The big open dining room/kitchen that I used to play in is crammed. The HUGE side yard that my brothers and I used to play baseball in is now full of crap...you literaly walk down a path through crap! So, for me "going back home" is very sad. All of the memories are in my head or in the pictures even though the people and house are still there. My kids cannot recreate what I did. My kids cannot sleep in my old room or eat around the table and sit in my old place. My kids cannot even go into the house...they have to play out in the front yard!

  2. Oh dear, that's really sad. Sometimes I think memories are best kept as just that.
    I occasionally go out if my way and visit the old stamping grounds of childhood, and the view is never better than I remember. The house I was born in has long since been demolished, and the house we moved to like yours is neglected - goodness knows what the inside is like.

    Poor yardsaleprincess1 - that must be even worse :o(

  3. the whole town where I grew up is not the same. I wonder if my daughter will feel the same in years to come about our town? I have always believed even as adult to make your memories they will keep you in your old age that is why we traved and took the time for memoris with my daughter when we were young. Because you never know what life is going to deal you.

  4. I'm heading home this weekend ... it's a much different place than where I grew up (insert rant about economic and manufacturing policy here.) My childhood home (owned by a new family) still is nice and well-kept. But the barn on my grandpa's farm burned down year before last, and I don't think I'll ever drive by there again. I'd rather remember it the way it was.

  5. well, I go home again 4 times a day some days.:-) (sorry, I couldn't resist being cheeky!)

    in all honesty though, it is wonderful to be living in my childhood home.

  6. We lived in a home from 1990-2000 and then my parents moved to their current home. I've been past that old home a few times but like you, been dismayed--the yard that my dad spent THOUSANDS of hours working on was just trashed--and that was just the front yard that we could see from the street, I'm sure the back yard was the same. It made me sad to see all of the things my dad worked so hard to take care of and improve just destroyed through what was obviously just letting it all go.

  7. That front porch photo is pricless! Love it! I live a quarter mile from my childhood home and up until February, my parents still lived there. But then my Dad died, my Mom now lives with my brother, and we are slowly cleaning out the childhood home. It's already not the same, but I absolutely dread the day that house gets sold.

  8. I can tell that your childhood home was a real gem back in the day. I go to mine several times a week, because I'm my Mom's caregiver now. It's funny, but I'm not attached to it like I am my Grandparents' home. My aunt lives there now, but I hope to some day. Isn't it funny, the things we remember from our childhood? I remember during the big tornado outbreak of '67, I was hanging by my legs, upside down, on the neighbor's swingset and my Dad came and grabbed me and ran home with me still upside down! Oh, and I would cry during every episode of Lassie!

  9. I've tried to go back home again and was sadly disappointed to see my grandma's house and my uncle's house all torn down to make room for a bypass road. We lived right next door to my uncle's house and our house is still there, but it has been neglected too-so sad! We do have our memories!

  10. A couple of years before my mom died, my dad discovered that the house I grew up in was on the market again and he told the realtor he wanted to see it as a customer. The realtor was surprised when all these people showed up and dad told him the truth then. It was still in good shape, but it seemed a lot smaller than it had when I was growing up. We lived there until I graduated from high school, when my parents sold it and moved to a much bigger house. It was kind of odd to go back to see it again but it was at least in good condition.

  11. I have, and the street was in disarray. And the house looked so much smaller than I remembered it.
    The story of your dad saving the baby doll is precious.

  12. Ohhhhh... that was a tough one! THANK goodness for memories - huh?! Just remember and SMILE 8-)!

  13. What a lovely tribute (even if it's sad to see it now.) It made me think of the home I grew up in. My parents had it torn down when they built their current house next to it (it was severly flood damaged.

    Oh and my imaginary friend lived in the closet and she was BAD. She was always getting me in trouble. ;)


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