"There's no place like home, there's no place like home, there's no place like home..."
October 14, 2010 4:27 AM   Subscribe

Past, I'd like to introduce you to the present. "Letters Home relies on contributions. We are nothing without readers who are willing to share their stories or respond to others. We don’t think we’re alone in wondering what’s happened to our childhood homes since we left. Or in wanting to share an important event that occurred there – from a birthday party to a marriage proposal, a secret revealed to a lie concealed. Write a letter to the present occupant (even if it’s still family), the owner of the store that now stands on that lot, whatever or whoever might be there now, and share your memory. Ask them to respond with their own story and photo. Their letter and photo will then be added to your post." How Letters Home works?
posted by Fizz (10 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This is an excellent idea. Now I wish it existed in my area as well.
posted by Harald74 at 4:40 AM on October 14, 2010

Wonder if the new occupants would be interested in 1994 pics of my roomie and I posing next to our hydroponic setup that took up a whole bedroom?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 4:42 AM on October 14, 2010

Here's a similar concept called Love Letters to the Future. Ostensibly a conservation site promoted by Greenpeace, this is a compilation of letters written to future generations.
posted by netbros at 5:15 AM on October 14, 2010

Awesome idea.
Last year there was a guy parked on the road across the street from our small, skinny, 100-plus year-old house. He was just sort of staring at my kids and I as we unloaded the car, it was a little creepy. Finally he said "hi" to me and I walked over to his van and talked with him through his open window. He told me that he used to live here in the 60's and 70's as a kid, with lots of other kids...I think it was some kind of rooming house or something...and he had such great memories of the place, asking me about all the rooms (which are totally different now.) He told me that they used to ride bikes in the unfinished basement (which I can't imagine, it's so small) and that in 1969 they saw a lightning bolt strike the cross on top of the church across the street and cause it to fall off. As I chatted with him I noticed that he didn't have any legs, but this fact never seemed to come up. We were busy that day, and I had to say goodbye after a few minutes and get on with the stuff we had to do.
I left him there, staring at our house from his van, and I wish I would have stayed longer and heard some more stories.
posted by chococat at 6:14 AM on October 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

Every few years the street on which I lived from age 3 to age 10 has a neighborhood garage sale. A few years back, we got to talking to the present owners of our house, and they (bless their souls) invited us in for a full tour.

It was so bizarre. They'd completely remodeled and flipped around the kitchen (the fridge was where the stove used to be, and vice versa). They'd pulled up the dark brown shag carpeting and installed (or refinished) hardwood floors. There used to be wrought iron swinging doors to this room that we'd pretend were prison bars, now there were French doors.

My room was *tiny*. I always knew it was small as a kid, but this was prison-cell like.

The wallpaper in the attic was still the 70's inspired velour flowered wallpaper my mother had installed.

There was still a big black track in the tiles of the basement floor, where I'd spent HOURS AND HOURS AND HOURS rollerskating.

And, most mind-boggling of all, was watching my (at the time) 3 year old son toddle down the same hallways I'd toddled through when I was his age.

On the flip side, the daughter of the couple that owned our house for 50+ years lived around the corner from us. She'd stop by every once in a while and tell us interesting tidbits about our place (they had a full garden in back during WWII, which is amusing because you can't grow ANYTHING there anymore; they had a flagpole in front, which explains the big sinkhole there now; the family that lived there before them had some ungodly number of children in a 3 bedroom house)...She said she had pictures, but never brought them. Whenever we'd drive past her house, we'd yell "SHOW US THE PICTURES, CLAIRE!!!!!" but then she moved and I don't know where she is now.
posted by Lucinda at 7:38 AM on October 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

I lived in two houses growing up: one for almost all of my childhood (my mother sold the house after my father died my junior year in college) and the home my father's employer rented for him when he was transferred to England for a couple of years in the mid-80s, which was a Georgian dower house in the English countryside.

That house is now a bed and breakfast, so I get to watch its transformation, with glee and occasional horror, on the internet.

I haven't been in the other house and my mother, who still lives in my hometown 20+ years later, won't even drive by it, because she's sad that the new owners tore down the landscaping she put in the front yard. I'm not that bothered by the landscaping, but I'm not sure I want to know about the interior.
posted by immlass at 7:46 AM on October 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

Since my parents made their living flipping houses, we moved about every 3 years when I was a kid. I'd have to write a lot of letters :(.

Honestly, though, given the amount of shag carpeting and faux-Spanish wrought iron many of my childhood homes had, I can only hope any new owners have changed things up.
posted by emjaybee at 8:38 AM on October 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

This is an excellent idea. Now I wish it existed in my area as well.

I believe that anyone can utilize this site from any place. The creator is Canadian and that is where it started so that is why most of the entries so far are Canadian. I plan on participating soon.
posted by Fizz at 10:14 AM on October 14, 2010

I sometimes deliver pizza to the house I grew up in. They've extensively remodeled it now, but it's nice that it's still lived in and loved.
posted by JHarris at 2:04 PM on October 14, 2010

My dad is a minister, and the house I grew up in which was then the manse for the Presbyterian church next door, is now a private Christian school. The church is now a Bhuddist temple.
posted by empatterson at 6:05 AM on October 17, 2010

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