Go to Google Maps and search for the place where you spent your childhood. It won’t look like your memories of the place, but you’ll find yourself thinking about when you lived there, and the changes between then and now will lead to reflections on the difference between you-then and you-now.
Here is what my childhood home looks like today:
The house is as old as I am, a tract home built when my mother was pregnant with me. All of the houses on the block looked the same, with the exception of the mirror effect, where some homes had the driveway on the right, like ours, and others had it on the left, which meant the floor plan was flipped. On walking through the front door, you’d be confronted with a living room, with dining room attached and kitchen off of the dining room. In the opposite direction from the kitchen, off of the living room, was a short hallway, off of which were three bedrooms and one bathroom. Eventually, families would remodel; in our case, we extended out the back, with a family room connected to the kitchen, and an extra bedroom and bathroom.
I can’t tell from the above picture what has been done to that back area, of course, and the size of the tree (and the shade) makes it difficult to see, anyway. You can see the front door, and I know where the windows are, but that’s memory speaking. The lawn seemed v.long when I was a kid (I can’t remember for sure, but a part of it might have been paved over later to make the driveway bigger). There was a rose bush in front of the door; when my grandmother was watching us and we did something wrong, we’d have to get a “switch” off the bush for a spanking.
I look at this picture, and I can see street football, and I can remember the neighbors who lived on either side, and I can see the floor plan, and which bedrooms I slept in at which times in my life, and where the TV was … if I were Proust, I could turn that photo into seven volumes of memories.
Here’s a picture of the above house from sometime in the mid-50s. I’m just guessing … my brother was six years older than I, and he doesn’t look all that old, so maybe 1956?