It’s been a long, draining day (few weeks, to be honest)… yet sleep is lingering somewhere outside and thoughts have turned to my old house and neighborhood, for some reason.
I was born and raised in Louisville, KY. I lived in a house on the western end of town, just west of a neighborhood city called Shively, for a little over a year. My parents then moved in with my grandparents, into the house I mentioned in the title, where I lived for almost 25 years. It was in the West End of Louisville: predominantly Black, predominantly poor-to-lower-Middle-Class. The block of 34th Street that I lived on was fairly quiet, compared to parts a few blocks west and north (mention ’38th’, ‘Amy Avenue’, or ’41st’ to anyone over 30 years old in the West End and you’ll probably get a mix of shudders, twitching-eyes, and dissatisfied grunts).
The house itself was one of many old, 2-story homes that dotted the West End, built when that neighborhood was the most affluent part of Louisville in the early 1900’s. 3 Bed, 2 Bath, with a front and back yard – luxuries I miss these days. There wasn’t anything particularly glamorous about the rooms, other than the dining room, but it was a pretty decent home.
The house itself was roomy. The basement was … ‘spooky’ isn’t the right word – not quite ‘strong’ enough. Neither is ‘haunted’ – too ‘strong’. It fell somewhere in between, even as an adult. It ALWAYS felt like you weren’t alone when you went down there, especially near the end of my time living there, when there were constant plumbing problems. Go into the basement with no lights? Just asking for trouble.
I liked the fact that there was a 2nd story back roof, long and wide enough to sit on, until it got old and unstable for walking/sitting. Same with the back porch. I strangely liked the noise from the gutters whenever a strong or severe storm barreled through.
That house, unfortunately, started falling into disrepair about 15 years or so ago. I moved out in 2004, the same week that my younger brother and sister did (weird fact: we didn’t know that we all were leaving that close to each other). My Dad moved in with them and my older brother in 2005 (after my Mom died), then got his own place a few years later; I moved back in with him in 2012.
I went back to visit 34th Street and that old house a few years ago. It, and a few of the houses next to it, was boarded up. They have all since been torn down.
I think what had me reminiscing about that house was that it, and my last apartment in the “Old Louisville” neighborhood, near the University of Louisville, felt like “home”. I didn’t have many friends over to either place but, if it were possible now, those would be the places I would most like to host them at. 3rd Street had the better location, 34th Street had the room, minus spooky-haunted basements. I’m working on getting my own apartment again, to call a place of my own “home”, but 2015 has not been good, financially.
The house on 34th held some good, and not-so-good memories. It’s always interesting to think back on how things were then and how that neighborhood has changed since my family left it a decade or so ago. Even more interesting: the fact that sleep finally has entered this home.
Until next time!