Monday, March 11, 2013

The Walls Speak

Kath has been collecting again, from an a care place for old people. Don't worry, she wasn't nicking their jewellery. The home had closed and left over bits and pieces were up for disposal.

Something rose in my mind about the people who lived there and thought of the place as their home. For some, their life as they neared death may have been of poor quality, but for many of the residents, the home would be a place of their last happy memories.

R and I have lived in six places in our time together, two of the places having being built in the 1930s, but our house in Rosamond Street, Balaclava, a timber worker's cottage of the Victorian era, was by far the oldest, dating back to the late 1800s.

Although as an example of Victorian architecture it was bastardised beyond recognition, I could sense history oozing from its walls like no other of our abodes. Within its rooms people had laughed and cried, got drunk, made love, given birth and died. Snotty nosed children had played in the backyard, kicked a footy in the lane behind and played cricket on the street.

At times the  house would have gleamed like a new pin and at others times it would have been neglected and appearing very rough around the edges. In its roughly 120 year history, at times people would have stood back and admired an improvement they had just carried out, only to have their work undone a decade later.

Maybe the house had seen some nasty things, a spousal assault, mistreatment of children, attendance by the police and perhaps an arrest. Their was little romance in the lives of workers in Victorian times and later.

Maybe the dreaded telegram was delivered to the front door during either war. Perhaps a mother hugged her son at the front door before he set off to Station Pier for embarkation to the front, never to see him again.

Perhaps in the 1970s it was rented to young people, the house filled with a fug of marijuana smoke and loud music vibrating its walls. Across the road lived musician Nick Cave in a time early in his career. Maybe he was a guest at times for musical soirees .

Then in the 1990s, there was us, two almost respectable gay males and once again the walls absorbed our lives, as we too improved the house, laughed, cried, fought, partied and hosted our legendary barbeques for our friends and families.

'Tis a queer thing that it is the only house we have lived in where I sensed the house's history.

http://highriser.blogspot.com.au/2007/11/why-white.html


10 comments:

  1. I've never sensed history in any of the many homes I've lived in. Perhaps that's because the house immediately accepts me. I walk in and it's home. All mine.

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    1. Funny River, I thought you might have.

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  2. I'm with River. But then all our houses we've lived in (3 of them) have always been new, so we made (and are making) the history. The Blogger just reminded me today, that we actually live in our present house for 30 years.

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    1. Bill, that is a long time in one house. I guess they will be carrying you out in a box.

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  3. I love learning about the history of any place I've lived...it humanizes the place.

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    1. Keith, I feel much the same.

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  4. Gosh you really did 'feel' this house Andrew, mind you looking at picture I can see why it's gorgeous. I often wonder if my 45 year old house will still be standing in a hundred years, not sure if they build them as well these days.
    P.s. it definitely was all your train talk that motivated me on Saturday, first time I've been on a train for years, enjoyed it a lot, merci beaucoup!

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    1. Believe me Grace, the house was not well built, with many unusual leanings. Good on you for taking the train. Sometimes it is the best option.

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  5. I love the 'feel' of places too and the nursing home 'brocante' was a spot I could have sat in for ages, hearing and feeling the stories of people who lived there.

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    1. Kath, perhaps I was being melodramatic when talking about history. Feel is a good word, a feel about a place.

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