Thursday, May 26, 2005

The Old Homeplace

I have fond memories of visits to my paternal grandparents as a child. They had what seemed like a mansion on about 30 acres on Vandalia Road. The house had all kinds of secret doors, hidden corridors, and more than ample room for the best game of hide and seek you can imagine.

On there land was a fishing pond, a manicured field suitable for golf practice, and a gymnasium with a basketball court, punching bags, and a trampoline. At one point, they also had at least one horse. It was very cool.

When I was a teenager, they donated some of their land to the city to help build Oka T. Hester Park. The horse barn and the fishing pond went with that land, but I played tennis and basketball at Hester park, so it felt like a good trade.

When my grandparents died (separately) about nine years ago, the house was still grand but was also showing its age in a few places. One of my uncles and his family put considerable effort into renovating and updating the house, then moved in. The house was much better for their efforts.

They donated some of their property to a local church that needed additional parking, and later they sold an outlying acre or two to an infamous local politician who built a rather large home on the land. Now, Greensboro's urban loop is cutting through the backside of the property.

The first three property dispositions did not bother me so much (not that it was my land anyway), but I hate to see the highway take more land. I fear the property will lose some of its natural beauty and traffic noise might eliminate the ever-present serenity in the rear part of the property.

None of us can reasonably expect the places in our childhood memories to remain intact forever, but I still wish it could be so.


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