Sunday, 21 June 2015


How many houses have you lived in over the course of
your life?  Do you ever think back to any of the views that once
met your gaze when you looked out of the window?  I'm trying to
recall when the 'view from the window' began to mean anything
to me, and I think it was when we moved from my present
abode, before returning just over four years later.

At one time, the view beyond the window never held any
particular significance to me, 'til one evening in May of 1983,
when I sat and watched the rays of the sun fade over the horizon
from my bedroom, and I realized that I would soon never be able
to enjoy that scene again.  Sure, I'd be bound to see the sunlight
fade if I wanted, but it would never be from that window or of
that specific scene.  As it had been my view for 11 of my 24
years, it somehow made me feel somewhat melancholy.

When we returned to the house, I was glad to resume my
acquaintanceship with the view, which was unchanged ('though
that wasn't to last) and everything seemed right with the world
once more.  In our new house, I'd almost resented the new view,
merely for not being the old one - even 'though that had never
meant anything to me until I realized I was about to lose it. 

I think, when we're young, the view from the window has
no special significance to us;  we look out of our windows to see
what's happening (who's out there, is it raining, is it snowing), but
we pay no particular attention to what the scene is comprised of -
the details, in effect.  Over time however, without us realizing it,
 the view comes to represent a period in our lives of which
we're later reluctant to let go - to abandon to oblivion.

Today, I now even find myself missing the view I once
resented, and pining for the time in my life which it conjures
up in my mind.  Strange or what?  In fact, I find myself missing
every view that I remember (which is all of them) and I wonder
how I'd cope if I were to suddenly find myself  in the unwanted
position of having to relocate yet again.  At my age, I don't
think I'd be able to adapt to new surroundings.

I've previously related on this blog how, when I learned
that the field across the road from one of my old houses was
about to be built on, I arranged with the tenant to photograph
the scene for posterity.  I now have a record of the view outside
every house I've ever lived in, either taken from the window
inside, or the step or path just outside the front door.

It may seem strange to you, but I find it comforting to be
able to revisit my past in this way, and immerse myself in the
familiar surroundings of my earlier years.  How about the rest
of you?  Do you ever think back to the environs beyond your
windows that you once knew, or are you too busy living in the
here and now to ever think about how things used to be?

If you have any particular reminiscences of the places of
your youth, and any you miss in particular, feel free to relate
precisely what they mean (or once meant) to you.  Does your
memory, unbidden, ever return to the scenes of earlier abodes,
and do shades of yesteryear haunt your dreams with images of
happier times, taunting you with what used to be, but can
never be again - except in memory?  Do tell.


Colin Jones said...

I don't need photos to remember the view from my childhood home as I can recall it very clearly. We lived at the end of a cul-de-sac in a village and from the front bedroom window you could see a field beyond which had been completely cleared of ferns and rushes to make a play area for the village children plus a space for fetes and bonfires etc. The last time I saw the field (in 2009) the ferns and rushes had reclaimed half of the field - eventually they will reclaim it all.

Kid said...

Unless they build houses on the field before that happens, CJ. It's bound to happen one day. I like to have photos - just in case my memory fades with age.

Philip Crawley said...

Kid, I can identify with a lot of what you are saying! Way back in the Uni days part of the art course involved photography and I took photos from my room of the view at various times of the day, and later at various times of the year. I had to move to the 'big city' to find work and have been away from the old family home for over 30 years, though some family still live in the town though not in that house. I have driven past a couple of times on visits to see them but the view I knew is now a factory and car park - and it's true what some say - the house now looks much smaller than I remember it, even allowing for the fact that I was in my late teens when I last lived there so it's not the scaled down memory of a small child. Glad I took all those photos at the time because that's the only way I get to re-experience that view now.

Kid said...

Phil, the 2nd photo in the post is one I took not that long ago, 50 years after having moved from the house. Eventually (sometime in the late '70s or early to mid-'80s), on the corner of the street across the road (on the left of the picture), a strange-looking building was erected which belonged to a company called Honeywell. The ground floor was of brick, with what seemed like a red, plastic-type portacabin on top. It lay empty for a few years after Honeywell vacated the premises, and was only recently demolished. If you look at the photo, you can see a building site, as flats are now being erected on the spot. I passed that way today, and so far on with them are they, that that particular part of the view from my old window is already obscured, so I got that photo at just the right time, because that was the first time in many a year that the view was close to what it had been in my day.

Sometimes, I just switch on my computer and go for tours around the areas of my youth - as they used to be (or close to it) before they were changed forever.

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