A Beautiful Carroll Gardens Recollection
I am a third generation Carroll Gardens resident. Both of my parents and both sets of grandparents were born and raised here.Both very powerful and very pretty.
It is difficult for me to walk down almost any street in Carroll Gardens and not have some familiarity with at least one house. Whether it was the home of a family member or a childhood friend of mine, or perhaps it was the home of one of my sisters' or parents' or cousins' friends. At one time or another, I had walked through its doors, climbed its stair and took a peek out the window to see if and how the view differed from my own.
Over the years, many family members and friends moved away. The houses that were once part of my life, were no longer open to me. They were renovated and restored inside and out. Instead of three or four families with anywhere from one to seven or eight children in each family living on one or two floors, now there were sometimes two adults and a tenant or two living in that same space.
Instead of families, friends and neighbors "visiting" one another on their stoops during the hot summer, sharing a lemon ice and some pretzels, there was now the hum of air conditioning on those hot nights and the smell of wood burning in those old, formerly sealed up fireplaces in the wintertime.
When the opportunity presented itself to enter into one of the buildings which I remembered so well, I would jump at the chance and try to recall, before I even entered, what I best remembered about that home. Could I remember the way it felt, smelled and what view I had from its windows? Sometimes, it would feel as if I had never been there before. Sometimes there would be some small thing that would trigger a vivid memory-someone's laughter, the exact way someone sounded when they would say hello to me.
Somehow, over the years, almost all of my family's homes were sold off. Tomorrow, I was going to have the opportunity to go to the house where my maternal grandmother was born and my mother raised. Throughout the years, it remained in the care of different members of my family and finally sold back in the eighties to a "stranger."
Tomorrow, my work would bring me to that house again. No longer used as a family residence, I would be entering into the hallway on business.
I was the member in my family who was left in charge of the family photographs. I can see my Grandmother, in that house, sitting in her mother's living room, a vibrant, young mom in the company of one or two of her many children; my Mother, a little girl playing in that backyard. My great Aunt Lizzie standing on the stoop, dressed to the nines, jewelry in place, to go food shopping on Court Street, some of my mother's siblings, cousins and their kids at a family gathering.
Which part of the house would I be seeing tomorrow? Would there be some reason to enter the basement, the place where homemade wine magically appeared from each year? Would there be some way I would get a glimpse of the backyard? Maybe it would be the space where Aunt Lizzie lived to ripe old age. What will I remember? What will I feel? Will all those voices I sometimes cannot quite recall anymore come back to me? Will it show on my face if they do?
I will find out tomorrow....
Labels: Carroll Gardens