I spent the first 17 years of my life, living in the same two bedroom apartment with my Father. The same one he moved into out of his parents home, in his mid twenties. I moved out when I was eighteen and got an apartment with my high school sweetheart. When that relationship ended, I moved back in with my Dad. Since then, my life has kind of been a series of move ins and move outs, as I try to get on my feet, find a stable career and work on my writing.
My father has lived in the same two bedroom apartment for the last 35 years. That apartment and the neighborhood it sits in is practically all he knows. He’s a man very stuck in his ways and one who admittedly doesn’t like change. A few months ago, after more than a third of a century — his landlord decided to sell. The new owners plan on gutting it and completely remodeling and then moving their own tenants in.
It’s bittersweet I suppose. On one hand, it’s literally like his home — our home — is being sold out from under him. We’ve practically paid the mortgage off. In fact, mathematically speaking, we have. He kind of had an unspoken agreement with the landlord, where he didn’t ask for nothing and she didn’t raise the rent. While the rent was dirt cheap, the place is practically falling apart. It needs new drywall, a new roof and multiple other major renovations one just wouldn’t splurge for on a property they don’t own.
So while I’m sure he’ll be happier at the new place, we’re literally leaving 35 years of memories behind — the good, bad and indifferent. Leaving everything you’ve come to know behind is not easy, even when it’s long overdue and ultimately for the best. I’ll no longer have access to the living room I used to play Nintendo and watch wrestling in as a child. As much as the place may be falling apart, it’ll always hold a spot dear in both of our hearts.
That being said, if you spend 35 years anywhere, you’re bound to acquire plenty of memories you’d like to forget as well. Change can be good in that sense, new beginnings, a fresh start and a clean slate. At the end of the day, I just felt like this was a piece I needed to write. Vista Street has always been home to me, even when I didn’t live there. I spent years playing manhunt, wiffle ball and freeze tag on the block as a kid. I hung on the corner of my street for years as a teen with friends. I spent much of my adolescence within a 5 block radius of the two bedroom apartment I was raised in. I guess I just simply never thought I’d see the day he left Vista Street.
While change isn’t always easy, without it we never grow. We become stagnant, stuck in our ways and ultimately grow to fear it. I prefer the perspective of new beginnings rather than focusing on the sadness of what’s ending. No matter where either of us reside, Vista Street will always be home to us both.