Leaving Manhattan recently on a wintery Friday afternoon we hit rush hour and my husband turned off the highway to avoid traffic. We were taking local Bronx streets when I realized we were about to pass my old neighborhood, and we decided to drive down the street where I lived.
I’ve written before about 2026 McGraw Ave, the house I grew up in, and that I saw last a dozen years ago when I went to a wonderful neighborhood reunion. (See Parkchester, Celebrate Me Home, Mr Bucco and the Ginger Cat, and Fluffy and the Alligator Shoes)
But it had been heartbreaking then to see the changes to the house since my parents sold it in the 1970s, and now I was sorry to see even more changes since the reunion.
Our property had spanned two lots and we had a large garden with a lovely stone birdbath, a garage and tool shed, a charming grape arbor that bore fruit, and on each side of our front door a beautiful magnolia tree – but now all those were gone.
And that recent Friday afternoon seeing the house again, now painted a garish yellow, I regretted that we’d made that detour.
But maybe Thomas Wolfe had it wrong, because lying in bed that night I saw the house once more – it was painted a warm brown, it was early spring, and our magnolia trees were in full bloom. And I went home again.
Dana Susan Lehrman