Recording your family history is a way of leaving your mark for future generations. But what about those other ways that you literally leave your mark for others?
Just about every place that you have lived bears some sort of reminder that you once were there, whether it be a crack in the plaster from some familial rough-housing, a coffee can of treasure buried in the backyard or hash marks on a pantry wall that mark the growth milestones of your youth.
In my case, here are a few of the things I’ve left behind in my home town of Council Bluffs, Iowa:
- In my parents’ house on North 28th Street: My brothers and I enjoyed bowling in our basement, with plastic pins and a softball. I named the place “Regal Lanes,” a term misunderstood by my brother as he indelibly inscribed “Ringo Lanes” on the basement wall. (Note: if they ever rip up the paving on Avenue E north of the house, that strip of buffalo hide is mine!)
- In our former house on Lincoln Avenue: If the shed near the alley is still standing, take three steps west and start digging. You’ll find the rusted hulk of a former kitchen appliance, a gift from a former owner too cheap to pay to haul it away. Hopefully, you’ll find no evidence of the brick that shattered the lower reaches of the laundry chute, though I’m certain you’d enjoy the story. And, while I’d like to take credit for the safe encased in concrete in the basement, that’s the legacy of a previous owner.
- In our former house on 10th Avenue: I hope you’re enjoying the oak plank floor in the northwest bedroom. That was a serendipitous discovery after removing some otherworldly carpet and spending many hours on hands and knees with a finish sander. You’re welcome.
I know those are quite tame, nothing compared to my grandfather and father, who actually built a whole house for their families. In the case of my grandfather, he built the same house twice and dug the foundation by hand. I feel like such a slacker sometimes.
What are the ways you’ve left your mark in the places you’ve lived?