I grew up in a part of Maple Grove that was right at the edge of a lot of new developments. In the evenings, we would take walks or ride bikes as a family through the ever expanding neighborhoods on the other side of the pond. I always loved to park my bike and walk with my Mom through the guts of a new house, smelling the smells of new construction, guessing what the labyrinth of wood framing would ultimately reveal once covered in gypsum.
Now when I walk through neighborhoods, it’s not new construction I’m interested in. No, the neighborhoods I’m falling in love with over and over again are 100+ years old with houses resting on damp and scary basements, sometimes complete with strange things like sunken furnaces and boilers. Not something you’ll find in many suburbs.
But there is so much more. Yes, the subfloors may be a bit unsteady in areas, but the hardwoods on top are beautiful. The plaster walls may not be my favorite, but the original crown moldings more than make up for that. And then you have the yards. Most of them are no bigger than a 3-car garage, but the gardens that stretch down to the sidewalks turn them into perfection.
I always wonder the history of the houses in these neighborhoods. Who lived in these houses 100 years ago? Especially when I walk through the duplex heavy NE neighborhoods. Who lived in them? Were there children? Were my babies the first to cross the threshold? Am I the only mother to walk the floors with her sleepless son? Certainly not…
I haven’t been back to my old stomping grounds in years, last time I was there everything looked so small. I wonder if my boys will remember traipsing through the city in the wagon, stopping only so Yogi dad and I can admire a particularly cute house or one day riding their bikes up and down tree shaded avenues? I can only hope.