I was shocked and deeply saddened (but not surprised) to find that my childhood home in Detroit has been demolished. I went by there expecting that I would still see it-even in it’s abandoned state. Just seeing the old homestead would cause my heart to flutter whenever I went there. Then one day, I approached the area where the structure had always been-and it was gone. At first, I thought I must be mistaken-it had to be there! But, it wasn’t. There was an empty lot where the house was. Like a fresh grave, I could see that the hole that once was the basement was covered up. I got out my car and stood on the ground-not a trace of my house was left. And so, only the memories remain…
No, not just the memories; I have the Newel post from the house! I wrote about this in a previous blog-posting. See the first picture of the post above? That was the Newel post from my childhood home! I lovingly brought it to a wood restorer. It was aged and beat-up. He said he would bring it back to life. He did! He mounted it on a stand and make it look good as new (see the three pictures above). How thankful I am to have it. Sometimes I just sit and look at it-thinking of all the family members and friends that touched that piece of wood. it’s almost a holy relic for me.
And what does this have to do with Abraham Lincoln? Not anything really. Except, Lincoln had a Newel post in his home in Springfield. He touched it. His family members and others touched it. Visitors to the house have touched, including me. It’s sort of a “contact-point”-to know that the Lincoln’s laid their hands on it. What else? Well, Lincoln spoke fondly and, somewhat, sadly, of his childhood home. His heart ached when he saw it. He felt a kinship to it-and a loss from it, I think. Perhaps, like Lincoln, I now know that I can never go back-because that place that was my childhood home is now literally gone forever. No one passing by the empty lot will know what once stood there and meant so much to a family that had called that little piece of land and the house that sat on it-home.
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