In one second, almost 50 years of my life disappeared… 106



View Profile

I can remember the first day we moved into our home. Jeff and I couldn’t have been happier or prouder. At the tender age of 24 we had finally done it, we had finally achieved our dream – we had bought our own house. The house that would be ours for almost 50 years.

We did everything in that home. Our children were born, one very unexpectedly in the bathtub! We had raised them, there were still faint marks of blue paint handprints under the white we had now. We taught them in that home. We taught them right from wrong, we taught them how to be kind, we taught them how to cook and how to clean for themselves too.

We had countless friends over, in fact our door was almost always revolving. The amount of dinner parties we had is too high for me to state. The number of red wine bottles consumed around the dining table and the number of stubbies consumed around the back table are also figures that would blow your mind. Our neighbourhood was beautiful – leafy, green and safe with some of the best neighbours you could ask for. In fact, many became our closest friends.

We renovated it, fixed it, painted it, retiled it, re-carpeted it, raised it and did just about everything you could possibly do to a home! Over the years it went from being a house we had bought to a home we had created and I loved it.

That house was a home. To myself, my husband, our children, their friends and our friends. But sadly, at 69 we decided to move out, downsize and say goodbye. It was a hard thing to do, but we did so knowing it was the right thing.

The clean out process was a mission – it took months! We had our family and friends all helping and doing their part. The people we sold the house to were lovely. They were a young family with a bright, entrepreneurial father who adored our land and our amazing views of Brisbane city. They were more than happy to make the investment.

Knowing that this home was being passed on to a family made me happy. I knew that after the many, many memories and the loving family it helped us to create, it would do the same for them too.

We didn’t move far away, our retirement village was just one suburb over and driving past the old home was almost a daily occurrence as so many things in our lives were in that suburb.

But last week I got the shock of my life… It was gone. Our home filled with love and memories wasn’t there anymore and instead a bulldozer sat on what would have been our front lawn and nothing but dirt and rubble lay were they house had once stood.

It isn’t our home anymore and hasn’t been for many years, but I can’t help but feel so sad that our creation is no longer there. It was such a shock and I shed a tear in sadness. I’m so grateful for the beautiful memories we have created and the beautiful home it was to us, our children and our friends, but every time I drive past it, I can’t help but feel a little sad inside.

Have you lost your family home before? What happened? How did it go? Tell us in the comments below…

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. I too had the same experience with my family home where my childhood memories were safe! Drove past one day with my beautiful family and there was nothing but rubble – we all shed a tear – I was then happy to know that my home was in my heart and no one else would take it away!!

  2. The same thing happened to me only it was longer my dad built our home I was 52 when I had to sell it for a low set so that would been 57 yrs now threes 2 homes on the one block of land I call them butter boxes

  3. Our family home suffered the same fate after my Mum passed away. Even the giant Prunus tree my Dad planted the day his first grandchild was born was gone. I no longer drive past where it used to be, to see units standing on the block. Very sad but at least we have our memories.

  4. 54 years ago at the tender age of 10yrs we left our family home in a wonderful neighborhood in Canterbury NZ to relocate in the North Island. Once during my teens and again in my early 20’s I re-visited and passed my old home re-living the wonderful memories of my childhood. My last visit to Christchurch in 2010 revealed our family home with it’s huge yard/gardens and trees had been bulldozed to make way for “development” of two town houses on a sub divided section. My heart was ripped in two. I then went in search of other family homes to discover one of my grandparents homes, the last house I lived in just prior to our big move, had also suffered the same fate as our family home. Totally devastated that now I would not be able to take my girls to visit my birthplace I returned home broken hearted. A year later as if to add insult to injury Christchurch suffered a massive earthquake which destroyed so many buildings and altered the landscape forever thus obliterating almost all the links to my childhood. I am fortunate in having a few precious photos but nothing can replace the atmosphere that you could feel when passing by the old familiar places that have now disappeared forever.

  5. A couple of years ago I went to visit the home I was brought up in. Instead of the modest 3 bedroom home with massive yard, there standing in its place were two massive two storey townhouses. Very disappointed.

  6. When I was a little girl I grew up in one of the most graceful streets in Brisbane – Bonney Avenue, Clayfield. We were at the St Columbans College end in a beautiful big Queenslander on 1/3 of an acre, situated between two streets so we had a drive-through entry to both. We had a huge mango tree over a hundred feet high in the centre of the sprawling backyard and a spreading poinciana that stretched across the fence and over Hutton Lane behind. Dad built me a reading platform in its lower branches where I spent hours going on adventures with George and Timmy and their mates in a little village in the English moors or chasing smugglers around a cute little island in the middle of a bay. Sometimes it was a little girl in Switzerland who took me rolling down green meadows with some mountains goats or a family in the USA with four girls and mother who helped the poor even though they had little themselves.
    Mum had a very extensive vegetable garden along with beds and beds of annuals that she planted out each year with a riot of colours. People used to stop as they walked past to admire and smell the flowers including a whole section devoted to her fragrant roses. My brother, two sisters and myself spent every Sunday afternoon after church playing cricket in the backyard or riding our bikes up and down Hutton Lane away from the busy front road. We had so many bushes and hidey holes that hours were also spent playing hide ‘n seek around the garden.
    Mum and Dad sold it when I was 12, thinking it was to a buyer who would relish the long deep verandah and sweeping staircase with great views and proximity to everything but alas it was really to a developer who, as soon as the ink was dry on the contract, had the bulldozers in to demolish all those wonderful memories and put up an ugly six-pack unit block that became the fashion in the late 60s in gracious suburbs like Clayfield and Coorparoo. I still drive past it every now and then and am reminded of the good old days but the ugly unit block is still there taking up space where all those memories came to life. So as you can guess, I feel exactly the same.

    2 REPLY
    • I lived in Clayfield in the 1960s and was horrified to see several lovely, old gracious homes demolished and replaced by ugly units. No respect for our heritage at all, and it still goes on today.

    • It was so sad, Stephen Lindburg. And you’re right, no respect whatsoever. We were at number 25 and it was a beautiful old home.

  7. Looks like it was a lovely home, some say once we have left we should never go back as we will only be disappointed! Hubby n i went back to find our home exterior altered but still nice, however a two story brick residence had been built behind on the same block as it was a deep one, looked a little weird but i guess that is progress! 🙁 🙂

  8. my childhood home disappeared many years ago, our first home we owned as a married couple was distroyed in the Christchurch earthquakes, but we had already moved on. Fortuately I don’t get too attached to houses. The memories stay in my heart & in photos. We are about to move again next week.

  9. Never pays to go back, nothing is the same.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *