JusJoJan – Stalking My Past

I generally stay busy and when I do have free time, I usually spend it catching up with friends or focusing on things I might have pushed aside. But, I will admit there are times when I am mentally exhausted and look for some mindless activity to pass the time.

A few nights ago, I sat with my iPad on my lap and engaged Google maps to look up places I lived at different times in my life. I was curious how the houses had changed from the mental images I carried with me. I was only able to find photos of one house.


It is so funny what memories come rushing back when we see photos. This house was green when my parents bought it. My dad painted it a pretty pale yellow, but it took a while for him to paint the detached garage. When we gave someone directions to the house we always added ‘it’s the yellow house with the green garage’.

This is where my mother planted colorful portulaca and bleeding heart bushes in the flower beds. And a lilac bush in the corner. This is also where she discovered the cancer that would take her life.

This was where I lived with my parents and three siblings in 924 square feet which sounds small but seemed big to me. Six of us.

It was here my sister told my parents she was pregnant and they sent her away to live with my sister. I would never meet my nephew.

It was here we had Mulligan the Cat – a rescue my mother scooped up after a man kicked him outside a convenience store. And Whiskey the cocker spaniel my boyfriend gave me. My mom named him because she said he was the color of a nice aged whiskey. And Irish, the Irish Setter my mom wanted after we all left home.

We had an unfinished basement where we had parties and I had sleepovers where we chanted “I believe in Mary Worth”. It is also the place where my father met with his  “Boo Hum Ditt Dum O.M.A” secret society where they did some chanting of their own.

This is where I lived when I started to date. It is where Dave with his baby blue Camaro and matching baby blue eyes came over on Saturday to watch Scooby Doo. It is where my mother made “Wild Punch” a concoction of orange juice and lemonade.

This is where my father insisted I paint a mural on the living room wall that would be immediately sanded off by the new owners.

It is funny, we think we are finished with places and things in our lives, but they truly never leave us. They are there waiting for a stimulus causing the memories to come rushing back. It is up to us how we remember them and whether we attach any lingering emotion to them.

I definitely was not expecting this post to be the result of that idle search. Funny how things turn out.

This post is part of Linda’s Just Jot it January and today’s prompt came from my dear friend and fellow blogger, Lauren. Pop over and check them out. Lauren’s blog is especially poignant today.



21 thoughts on “JusJoJan – Stalking My Past”

    1. What a great post, Pete. I have never lived in such a metropolitan area. We are such a throw away society that places here often do not last long.

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  1. Some places really do stick with you. We lived for a year in a duplex in Indianapolis when I was 3 going on 4, and of all the places I’ve lived that is the one I remember the most vividly. I looked it up on Google Maps a while back, and it’s exactly how I remember it.

    Looking things up on Google Maps can be dangerous, though. That’s how I discovered that the building Mary grew up in and we spent the first few years we were married is now a vacant lot…

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    1. That is painful to see the places of our past disappear. The house my husband has the most memories of was recently torn down. It was a big two-story clapboard house. The kind no one wants to live in anymore.


  2. I thought about visiting the tiny house I grew up in. It is about 40 minutes away from where I live now. Your sweet post might inspire a drive today.
    Thanks for giving me the inspiration to write the poem, rewrite the poem, and post the poem.
    You are an inspiration.

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    1. That might be a great trip to make, Lauren.

      I loved your poems. It is nice to acknowledge all the breadth of our experiences. Together they have guided us to this moment. And this moment is pretty special.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I occasionally stroll down memory lane by driving by the house we lived when we first married or the house I grew up in. Always comforting even though everything has changed.

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  4. I particularly liked the structure you chose for this piece of writing, kind of an expanded list. It worked very well with the starting point of the house. Well done.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Another wonderful read, Maggie.
    A few years ago, I drove over to where I lived pre-divorce, when I was too small to know anything was wrong and the world was magical, lalala — The house is no longer blue, now tan. No picket fence now. No awnings. Fewer flowers. I marveled at the little girl looking out the door, she was probably 3-4. I wondered if the creek in the back still brings turtles when it rains or if she rules that yard. I said a little prayer that her life in the house would be as happy as mine was, and just maybe, better.

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