A Woman's Voice

MEMORY LANE ~ What The Walls Would Say ~ November 3, 2011 by Kelly Quinn

Posted in MEMORY LANE by doloresayotte on November 3, 2011
Tags: , , , ,

Call me crazy, but I have a ‘thing’ for old houses.  I have lost count of the number of times my daughter and I have been driving somewhere and I have heard “Aw Mum!” as she caught sight of a tear on my cheek as we passed an abandoned house, left derelict and in ruins. 

I don’t know when my love affair with old houses started.  I am reasonably sure I haven’t always felt this way.  But I believe I have become more affected by the sight of them since my Grandparent’s house was knocked down by the new owners, who are intending to one day build units on the land. 

And affect me they do.  I feel pain.  I cry.  And I can’t help but think of the stories the houses could tell – if only they could talk. 

The houses I am talking about are the ones that were built long before ‘estates’ and mass-produced dwellings.  These houses, I can reasonably assume, began life as someone’s dream home.  Maybe a young couple, newly married, and alive with hope for the future created their vision and watched it grow into physical being.  Perhaps a young man, making his mark on the world and setting himself up for the possibilities of a family (“One day….”), built a modest house in which he could live a quiet and peaceful life.  Or maybe a widow decided to create a new life for herself after losing her husband of 20 years. 

Think of the celebrations for birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, Christmases, New Years (or just when the family were all together again after so long apart).  The tragedy of losing loved ones, losing jobs, or dealing with family dysfunction.  Parents alone after the last of their children left home.  The echo of children’s laughter. The tears of pain and joy that have soaked into the floor.  Harsh words spoken in haste.  The devastation of a family torn apart by hate.  Hope.  Fear.  The possibilities of what the walls could tell you are endless. 

My Grandparent’s house saw many of these things.  Children, grandchildren, weddings, funerals, laughter, tears.  Even death and loneliness.  Every room had it’s fair share of the action.  If the family were to get together and reminisce about ‘old times’ I could almost guarantee every one of us would tell a story that took place in a different part of the house or yard.  These are the stories of our lives and that house was the glue that held us all together. 

For me the house was a safe-haven.  A place of unconditional love and happiness.  A place where I was free to be a child and enjoy the antics of my Grandfather (what a character he was!).  It is where I learnt the value of a hard day’s work, and the importance of communication in a relationship.  But most of all the house, for me, was a symbol of hope.  Hope for how my life might be one day – full of love, patience, acceptance and compassion.  I still have this hope. 

So, why this trip down memory lane?  Well today I had an appointment, and the drive took me past a number of old houses.  One of which was so similar to my Grandparent’s home that it took my mind straight back to my younger years.  And I couldn’t help but wonder what this old house would say – if only it could talk.

Thank you Kelly for sharing about your love for old houses with us.  You are so right.

I can’t even imagine what the walls would say if they could actually talk. 

Picture of house is from the John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland – Neg: 198358



5 Responses to 'MEMORY LANE ~ What The Walls Would Say ~ November 3, 2011 by Kelly Quinn'

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  1. I can so much identify with Kelly and her feelings for old homes,
    and those we’ve had a special love for because of the people
    who have lived within those walls. I think often of the houses we
    made into a home and our last one especially, when our children
    were going to college, getting married and all the memories over
    the years. I know someone else painted over the penciled growth
    marks on the wall and now fresh paint has hidden those years……
    Memories are so special and it would be interesting to hear those
    old walls talk! God Bless you!

  2. Mary Haskett said,


    I’ve often thought the same, if only houses could talk and old trees too! What tales they could tell.
    A very thought provoking piece and rather nostalgic too! But it’s good to look forward to that beautiful city that God has prepared for us and where there will be no more tears:)

  3. Shirley Sarafinchan said,

    Hi Kelly, I love old houses too especially old farm houses and I hope you take the time to read my poem “The Old Farm House” which you can find under “Inspirational Poems” in Dolores’ Blog. I’m sure you will relate very easily! I look forward to hearing your comments.

  4. clearbluewindow said,

    Thank you Dolores for sharing this with your readers.

    Thanks everyone for the comments.

    Diane, I relate to the paint over the growth marks. I love it when I visit friends and they have growth marks etched into the framework around a door – much longer lasting evidence of a home one-filled with children’s laughter.

    Mary, I like trees too! People look at me a little strange though when I get started on that topic. But I like to imagine the changes they have witnessed over their lifetime.

    Shirley, I read your poem and I love it! This is exactly the sort of thinking I have when I see an old house. You’ve captured it so well.

    Again, many thanks to all.

  5. I’ve always loved old homes, too. Enjoyed reading this piece. I feel the same. Blessings, Barb

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