Walking Into My Past

I went on a rather long meander yesterday, that ended up being nostalgic. It was my day off, but I got up with Bryn and took him to work in the morning since I had to stop downtown and pick up certified copies of our marriage license. Realized I was wearing jeans, an oversized grey hoodie, and a knit cap, which likely made me look homeless! Made a quick zip into the Administration Building, grabbed a bagel with shmear of salmon cream cheese and a coffee, and then headed out of the city down to the wilds of south King County.

It wasn’t actually too far south, but I was on the hunt for some doll hands for a friend (Halloween costume) and I thought that Michael’s or JoAnn Fabrics would FOR SURE have them since I recalled seeing them there before. What I forgot, was that time passes, and the times I saw doll parts at craft stores was twenty years ago. So after no luck at the places by Westfield Shoppingtown Southcenter (I always have to say the full name), I decided to take a wander through IKEA, which wasn’t that far away.

No, I didn’t buy any tea lights. Just napkins. And a new recycle bin. And some cork trivets. And a set of gingerbread house parts that I *may* put together sometime in the next couple of months. Then I decided to go into nearby Renton, which is the city where I lived from 5th grade through high school, and also for a few years in my twenties. Again, time had somehow passed and things were different. One of the places I stopped at was an antique store in the old downtown that always had really cool furniture I had loved. I hadn’t been inside in probably close to twenty years, but it seemed just the same, albeit maybe slightly more crowded. There was even a piece that I specifically remembered seeing in there when I was sixteen!

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I mean, doesn’t EVERYBODY need a fancy half-dome to store their statues in at home? Still there. Marked down to half-price, which was about $900. I can’t imagine why it hasn’t sold.

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This was also upstairs, and I took a picture because I liked the technique the artist used in collaging on different pieces onto the watercolor painting. Couldn’t figure out who the artist was, but it has a Native theme.

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In addition to the main floor and upstairs, there is also a creepy basement. Since it was such a good nostalgia trip, I even ran across a bassinet that is the exact same thing as I remember having at home as a child in our basement (it my baby bassinet). The tag on this says that it is from the 1920s? Not sure if my parents bought an antique for me, but perhaps it was a hand-me-down from a family friend, or my dad found it at a garage sale. Or maybe it was from the late 70s and the antique dealers are lying? This could possibly be the same one even, I remember we ended up giving it to a Russian immigrant family when we lived in Renton.

So then I drove up to the area where our old house was and took a walk in and around that neighborhood. There was a bit of a detour since I had to wander around some streets and trails to actually get into the place. It is a gated neighborhood (which sounds way fancier than it actually is) and on a bluff at the top of a hill where there are still a lot of forested greenbelts surrounding it. The houses are mostly built in a big loop and our house was on the inside of the loop. Of course the house itself looks different twenty-two years later. It has changed colors and has a different deck and a fenced-in backyard and a flagpole (?!?) in the front yard.

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I approached the old house from the back, taking a trail from the Clubhouse through the forest in the center of the loop. There were so many memories! This was the forest I used to play in all the time. It smelled the same, and looked pretty much the same. I got to say hello to trees I remembered.

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The fence that was up now kept me from seeing my old backyard very well, but there was a large rock I remembered that was still there, just outside the fence. I assume it was unearthed when construction workers were digging the foundation, although it may have just been there. I used to sit there a lot and read books, now it is covered in moss.

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Here’s a view looking back at the path as I was on my way out. I didn’t spend too long, but it was nice to be there again in a place that had a lot of memories. It was a spontaneous trip back to my past and I was happy to see all of the trees and remember what a fun environment that was to play in as a child. The last time I had gone back for a visit the greenery had recently been trimmed back pretty severely, so it was good to see it looking more overgrown and foresty.

The good thing about having grown up around here is that I can go back and visit these places if I want to. I don’t do it very often, but sometimes it makes for a nice trip to reflect on who I was at a given time, and to recall people who aren’t alive any longer. As I get older, I gain more understanding about having my own past to look back on, which I’m sure is part of the human experience in general. It helps to balance all of the forward momentum of working to achieve goals (and of also trying to “be in the moment”).

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