Skip to main content

The House As a Home

I happened across the listing by chance, as one so often does when perusing the internet. Curiously enough, I am familiar with both the house and the listing agent, the house having once belonged to a friend's family, and the listing agent being an old school chum. But it's the house that grabbed me. It's the house that, frankly, tugs at my heart strings.

315 S. Garfield Ave. in Champaign, Illinois is, in many respects, a house like any other. Cape code-style, 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, located on a nice, quiet street (I promise I'm not attempting to do an ad for it). So, yes, a fairly typical middle-class home in the midwest. What makes this abode special (to me) is its history. Here resided my good friend Derrick and his parents Ike and Linda. Here, dear reader, I spent many happy moments of my youth.

There's the (really long) living room, taking up the entire front of the house. There, Derrick and I would sit and watch the BraveStarr cartoon afternoons after school. I remember their lovable boxer dog, Roxie, in one of her many rambunctious moods, running up and down that long living room. Behind the living room was the kitchen, and behind the kitchen was the door leading to the back porch and yard.

One warm summer night, Derrick had some friends come by for a sleepover. The twist was that we were going to spend the night in tents in his backyard. That evening also happened to be the HBO premiere of Predator, and his parents wheeled the TV out onto the back porch, and we came up from our tents, gathered around the tube, and watched as Carl Weathers' arm got torn off, and Ah-nold figured out a way to beat the alien. We laughed at all the violence. What else would red-blooded American pre-teens do?

Then, of course, there was the upstairs, which consisted of a hallway, a guest room, a bathroom and Derrick's (spacious) bedroom. There we would wile away the hours discussing important things such as the latest issue of Thor, what comic books we'd just read, or drawn (yes, we drew our own comics), and we would also watch TV. Lots and lots of TV. Some of this would be Derrick indulging me in my crush on actress Lea Thompson, so we'd watch Space Camp, Howard the Duck and her episode of Tales From the Crypt.

Derrick and I were able to spend some time together a few months ago, when he was back in town for our 20th high school reunion. It was nice, though not enough time. We reminisced, asking each other about how our parents were doing, and what happened to the pets we had back in the day. He asked about my cat, Punky. I caught my breath for a moment. There aren't many people who remember Punky, so it was special that he asked about her.

So, dear reader, 315 S. Garfield is for sale again. Derrick and his family haven't lived there for close to twenty years, but I remember when they did with much warmth and love. It's a reminder that houses aren't merely structures made of wood, plumbing, insulation and siding. A house is, if we're lucky, a home. It is a memory box, a witness to the lives, loves, families and friendships of all those who have resided within its walls.

I can tell you that 315 S. Garfield, while perhaps a typical middle-class midwestern home, is one heck of a memory box.


Popular posts from this blog

The Best Superhero Movies of All-Time, Revisited

We are just a few days away from the North American release of Avengers:Infinity War. While I am dutifully going to see it opening night, it's not a film I'm looking forward to. It is (spoiler) part one of two, which means we can expect plenty of plot threads left dangling when the credits roll. In other words, part two will probably be better, and provide some actual resolution. Also, Thanos looks like a CGI yawn-fest. Hopefully, I'll be proved wrong.
Nevertheless, this is a good opportunity to rank (again) the major superhero movies (Marvel and otherwise) that we've had so far. As you know, I love making a list, and this one is going to be a definitive one! If you don't see a film on here, it's because I haven't seen it (the first two Thors, Iron Man 2, some of the X-Men features, etc.).   Alright, here we go.

Walk and Chew Gum

Yesterday marked a touchstone moment in the U.S., as students across the country participated in "walkouts." This was an occasion for students to express an array of thoughts and emotions, ranging from a desire for stricter gun control, to simply sorrow over the loss of so many of their peers to school shootings. They were peaceful protests, but protests nonetheless. Where you're at on the spectrum of agreeing or disagreeing with what they did may vary, though not wanting to get shot in your school seems pretty reasonable to me.
Some folks have taken to sharing a meme on social media platforms this week -- in direct anticipation and response to the walkouts -- that encourages students to "walk up, not out." Following are suggestions provided for the walk ups:

Walk UP to the kid who sits ALONE and ask him to join your groupWalk UP to the kid who never has a voluntary partner and offer to be hersWalk UP to your teachers and thank them!Walk UP to someone and JUST …

Prediction: 2020

It may seem odd to attempt to predict the outcome of a presidential election that is two years and eleven months away, but then I never claimed not to be a little odd. Politics is also something that is weighing on people's minds a lot these days, especially at the national level. The biggest focus is on the 2018 midterm elections, but I'm curious about 2020, as well.
A lot of folks -- though certainly not all -- are of the opinion that President Trump will be ousted (or will resign) during his first term, making a prediction of his 2020 re-election chances a moot point. I'm not so sure. If 2016 taught us anything, it's to never be too certain of anything. The pessimist in me thinks that Trump could possibly not only stay in office, but also be re-elected. Following is why -- at this particular juncture -- I think that is the case.
With a little help from the 270towin web site, let's look at how the Electoral College could shake-out in 2020. We're only focusin…