At first glance this pic itself likely won’t mean anything to anyone scrolling. Looks like a house in any other suburban neighborhood in the US or around the world.
However this house belonged to the family of my best friend growing up – An across the street neighbor who moved into my parents’ town when I was only 6 yrs old. He was the same age.
Although 33 years later the house itself hasn’t changed much, that car you see in the driveway is not a car I recognize. It’s the car of a new family that just moved in a wk ago…& when I was just home visiting my parents, seeing that new car I didn’t recognize in the driveway hit me like a punch in the gut.
My buddy Dave’s family moved into that house back in the early 80s. Our first encounter happened when he road his bike on the sidewalk in front of my house, said hello, & proceeded to brag about the new shiny license plate he’d gotten w his name written in capital letters across it. Immediately he asked “do you have one”?
Not only did I not have a license plate, but I didn’t yet have a bike. I don’t expect anyone to feel sorry for me (I am more than grateful for upbringing), but to give some context, my parents both being teachers, moved into a town where the avg household income was significantly higher than ours. Many doctors, lawyers, bankers, etc. Dave’s dad, himself, was a vet & w that came some perks.
Reliving this feels like watching an episode of the Wonder Years for my generation, but bc of Dave’s dad’s generosity, he (& some of our friends by proxy), didn’t long for much, & made many memories in that house.
His was the first family to have an in-ground pool where we spent many a day & night playing all sorts of water sports, or having an excuse to invite over others for some shenanigans. Any time the latest gadget, event or technology came out, his fam was the first to get it – from a permanent driveway basketball hoop to Pay Per View boxing matches… HD TVs to NFL’s League Pass. Needles to say, we spent a LOT of time at & in their house as kids & even young adults.
Despite all the perks, one thing his parents didn’t spend lavishly on was cars. For the first 10 yrs I knew him, his dad drove around in a beaten up brown “boxy” Volvo. We loved that car, even tho the lining on the top was falling down to the top of the seat backs. Once that car finally failed, his dad got a red Toyota SUV, we aptly nicknamed the fire truck. That truck took us to many baseball card shows, basketball games in the local park, & movies at the theaters.
That’s why that “punch” hurt so much when I saw the car you see in this pic, & it was no longer one I recognized in that familiar driveway. That new car symbolized to me a change in generations…a passing of the torch…the end of an era. Even though my parents are still in the same house…even though others my age who grew up on our block have long since moved out, seeing a new family occupying my “second home” shook me in a way I didn’t expect – bc of the descriptions above brought about feelings of finality, loss, change, uncertainty, & more (& I’m a guy who has a tough time still tapping into my emotions!).
Needless to say, yes this is a post very specific to me & my life, but I hope it serves as an example to the rest of you that ANY change is hard. It doesn’t have to be a major move across country…a divorce…a new job/colleagues. When you’ve been used to something for so long, & you must adjust to a new normal, that stirs up emotions that can be very hard, old memories & questions about the future. Just know you’re not alone. It’s something most all of us experience, but very few openly talk about it…& the more you let yourself feel & talk or write about it, the less you become a victim of the hold it can have.