It Was Our House

At 6:03 pm on June 8, old friend sent this Facebook message:

There was a shooting in your old house in Richfield today. Watch the news tonight.

I was stunned.   It was a blessing our TV wasn't working and the dog needed a walk.  It gave me time to digest this news – before I actually tuned in to television coverage of another murder. 

But it wasn’t just “another” murder.  It was a murder in my childhood home.

[The old home - 1958 - with Friskie the cat on patrol.]

As I said on Facebook after the shooting,

An old friend called this to my attention - homicide in our old home in Richfield. Even without knowing the details - and I really don't care to know them - it's very disturbing. One could argue that it's just a house, but it's my childhood home and my parents lived there for 46 years, from when it was built in 1953 until they moved out in October 1999. I'm surprised how unsettled I feel about it. Good thing Mom passed away in January. She would feel responsible somehow for selling the house.

It was a real social media event.  My initial notice of the even came via Facebook, friends and family communicated with me about the event online, and one of the best sources for news was the Richfield Patch

Despite my initial reluctance, I did want to learn more.  Through various news sources I discovered that the victim had been shot multiple times and died in the kitchen of the house. 

The old kitchen was initially a breezeway connecting the house to the garage.  Breezeways were common in the neighborhood but as time went by my parents decided to remove the breezeway, and expand the kitchen – with labor provided by my Uncle Ole.

The police report stated the victim was lying in the southwest corner of the kitchen.  That was always the cold corner of the kitchen.  In the depths of winter, frost would form on the wall paneling where the house connected to the garage.  The southwest corner – a cold spot indeed.

2013 has been a difficult year - so far.  My mother passed away in January, a beloved uncle died a month later, it’s rained at least 40 days and 40 nights, and now we can add to that list images of a dead man on the floor of “our” kitchen.  

Rather than dwell on the bad images, as I feared I would, I've decided to take the advice of friends who responded to my Facebook post:

Wow, feels like my childhood home too . . .  this feels terrible! 
I'll only remember the good that occurred in this house. 
Sorry to hear about this, John. These stories always hit hardest when there is that personal connection, of course. Best to avoid reading anymore about it and remember your home for what it was---your childhood home
[Celebrating 10 years - in the kitchen - of course.]

And that’s how I've decided to leave it.  It was my childhood home.  I’ll keep the good memories. 

Blow out the candles!  Don’t forget to make a wish.


mim said…
that photo brings a tear to my eye. From the straw in the RC, to the fervor of your inhale, to knowing that your mom or dad was proudly taking your photo. Beautiful tribute to your home.....
Leslie Lien said…
Awesome John! Great attitude and great tribute to a special place in your life - your childhood home. Keep the hapiness close in your heart and memory - no one can take that away from you!

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