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Susan Ito trying to do it all: reading writing mothering spousing daughtering working living

Saturday, July 01, 2006


I was fooling around on Zillow.com today - it's a strange, surreal site where you type in an address and you can see the current market value of any property, including satellite photos that are eerily close up. After checking out our present house and feeling relieved that its value hasn't totally tanked since we bought it, I decided to type in the address of the house I grew up in in New Jersey, the sale of which nearly shattered me two years ago. I longed to see it again, even a fuzzy birds-eye satellite shot.

Zillow responded: There is no house at this address.

I blinked, thinking, there must be some mistake. I typed in the address of our old across-the-street neighbors, just one digit away from our address. It showed up right away. I zoomed in on their house. Their driveway was directly across from ours. I zoomed in and zoomed in. I saw trees with skinny, bare branches. I saw the house that used to be next to ours. I spotted all the neighbors' houses: the Kiesselbach's, the Wubbes', the Schleichers'. But it was true. Where my house used to stand was an empty lot. It was a gray-green scrabble of nothingness.

My house is gone. I'm typing through tears.

I mourn the loss of that house almost as deeply as I mourn the loss of my father, who died six years ago. Both of them meant home to me, in the most elemental way.

I can't think about it right now. I can't think about telling my mother. We'll both have nightmares for months. Years.


Blogger Libby said...

Oh, Susan, I remember how you feared this when it sold...I am so sorry!

Saturday, July 01, 2006 5:51:00 PM

Blogger melanie said...

Omg...Susan, I'm sorry too. I don't know what to say, except that must be so weird and awful.

The house where my aunt and uncle live in SF is the house my mom and siblings lived in when they immigrated here, so basically my mom's bro (uncle) and sis (other aunt) grew up there; in a way, so did I. It does mean alot to have that house somewhere in my life, and I realized that reading your post.

In your heart that home will stay with you always. *hugs*

Saturday, July 01, 2006 11:28:00 PM

Blogger Green Fertility Marie said...

Sorry to hear that, Sweetie. I wonder if kids today, who seem to move around so much more, will feel as (up)rooted...


Sunday, July 02, 2006 6:52:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe you don't need to tell your mother, Susan?

Katharine Weber

Sunday, July 02, 2006 12:29:00 PM

Blogger Susan said...

Thanks everyone. And NO, Katharine, I'm not going to tell her. Definitely not. This is a burden I can carry on my own.

I think what I need to do is write about that house, although I already have, a lot, but write every single corner and memory, and that is where it will continue to live.

Sunday, July 02, 2006 12:58:00 PM

Blogger Nancy Swett said...

Are you really sure it's gone?

Sunday, July 02, 2006 7:46:00 PM

Blogger Rinn said...

My parents moved out of our house in NJ last year after living there for 30 years. It was the saddest, hardest thing ever and my mom was totally out of her element living in a new house for months. It does comfort me knowing that house is still there, even though I can't just go in whenever I want. So I understand your sadness.

Sunday, July 02, 2006 7:53:00 PM


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