Monday, February 16, 2009

About a House

After writing last Friday's Writing Journey Post, I decided to share another tidbit connected to House on the Hill involving one of the significant houses in the book.

As I mentioned in the notes at the back, the house Lizzy's family moves into is based roughly on my grandparents' home on Main Street. It was one of the very last homes standing on what became a commercial center.

When I was a kid, it was rather fun to drive past Fred Meyer, gas stations, and restaurants and then pull into the driveway of this small white house in the middle of a city with traffic whizzing by.

The business next door kept changing, and each time we went up, we'd guess if it was still Pizza Hut or a tire place or something else.

My grandparents both passed away before I was out of grade school. For years, the house was rented out to university students. Eventually the family siblings decided to sell the house. I knew this on some level, but it didn't really register.

The summer before my senior year, I went up to Utah State University in Logan for drill camp. As we drove along Main on the bus, I watched carefully for the house and pointed it out to my teammates.

I had a great week at drill camp. On our last day, I ran into my uncle, a professor at USU. He was on his way to mail a letter to my father (his brother) but instead gave it to me to deliver. On the way home, I watched for the house but didn't see it. I figured I just started looking too late and didn't remember the area well enough to catch it.

But that's not what happened.

The letter informed my father that the property had been sold and the house razed. It had been demolished a couple of days before . . . while I was at drill camp. I felt punched in the gut.

Then I realized that getting a last glimpse of the house was a tender mercy from above. I've always been grateful for that last chance to see the house that held so many happy memories from my childhood.

House on the Hill is dedicated to my grandparents, August and Frieda Luthy, who lived in that house, as well as to Keith Jensen, my grandfather-in-law, who became like another grandpa to me. I was saddened that he didn't live to see the book or the dedication.

. . . at least in body.

I like to think that all three of them saw it from where they are now and smiled.

15 comments:

Kristina P. said...

It's always so sad when you find out these places that held so many memories are gone.

And I'm so glad you are coming on Saturday!

Alyson (New England Living) said...

Ahhh, that was beautiful, Annette!

::Jan:: said...

I was there in my mind. Beautiful Annette. Thanks for the memory lane.

Lara said...

That was definitely a tender mercy that you were able to see the house so soon before it was demolished!

Kaylynn said...

What a neat story. I would be very sad if my grandmother's house was torn down.

the letter Bee said...

That's wonderful! There is a house in the Bear Lake area that my family built in the 1870s (my great grandma and my grandma were both born in it). I would feel awful if it were razed. What a blessing that you got to see your grandparents' house one last time.

Kimberly said...

What an incredible history you got to be a part of!

Dione said...

I've been looking for some good books for our book club - I now know what to recommend! I'm just stalking - I hope you don't mind.

My family averaged a move every 3-6 months (not the military - just dysfunction) and when I learned that my grandma from NC had moved and sold her house I was devastated. I realized that it was the closest thing to "the home that I grew up in" because it was a constant - it was always there. I had planned on taking my children there someday. :(

An Ordinary Mom said...

It's so much fun to learn about the history behind a book.

Heidi Ashworth said...

Oh, my, I would have been devastated! Still, I love tender mercies!

Marivic_Little GrumpyAngel said...

That made feel sad reading about that. Thank goodness you can keep memories and take them with you even when places change and things are taken away. I think it's wonderful you preserved some of it by making it part of your book.

Nancy Campbell Allen said...

Wow, Annette! That's really bittersweet. Makes me wish nothing ever had to be torn down. And how crazy that it was torn down while you were at camp!

pinky said...

i would love to read some of your books. i'm an avid reader. seriously. i love logan too. it's such a cute little town. i'm sorry that the house is gone but so glad for all the memories!!!

i'm following your blog if that's okay!!! and thanks for your comment on mine.

apinkypromise.blogspot.com

Melanie J said...

It's strange to go back to places and things and find them gone. That last glimpse you got was most definitely a gift.

Heffalump said...

At least you didn't try to show your friends only to find it not there.
I have a soft spot for my Grandmother's house. I still often dream of it even though it has been many years since I was inside.

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