All posts filed under: Houses

Maple, Part One: 2004-2005

Houses

Maple is a hidden street, a dead-end spit of old mill village wedged between three parking lots and a pastel suburban maze of cul-de-sacs that popped up on the hillside sometime in the 1990s. I’m not sure when I first drove down—like most I was probably foiled trying to use it as a shortcut to beat traffic on Main Street—but I remember thinking that I’d stumbled upon something wondrous: a collection of cottages with ample […]

Estes, 2002-2004

Houses / Nostalgia / Personal History

(This is part ten of a series. Part nine is here.) We knew the ice storm was coming. Sort of. Cranberries went to work at the coffeeshop that wasn’t really a coffeeshop around the time the rain started to freeze out, around the time the rain froze. Apollo was worried about her driving home, so he asked me to drive her to and after her shift, we went to fetch her over the icy roads […]

The Park, 1996-?

Family History / Houses / Nostalgia / Personal History / Uncategorized

(This is Part 8 of a series, Part 7 is here) You never expect the Deep Suburbs. Not when you’re a young person inclined believe they are dystopias, whose bookshelves are packed with searing indictments of, whose politics are starkly aligned against, whose internal jukebox comes programmed with so many songs decrying, whose family (you believed) were absolutely committed to the revitalization of the urban core and strictly anti- the interests, ideologies and infrastructure that […]

Randolph, 1994-1995

Houses / Nostalgia / Personal History

(This is Part Seven of series. Part Six is here.) Let’s get this out of the way: I hated college. Maybe I was destined to. I’ve spent an adult life (and nearly twenty years, post college living in a college town) trying to work out whether the problem is me or the institution. Probably me. Like most of life’s great disappointments, it wasn’t supposed to be that way. College was supposed to be the best […]

Sherwood, 1991-?

Family History / Houses / Nostalgia / Personal History / Uncategorized

(This is Part Six of a series. Part Five is here.) At some point in the last three decades, my sister and I became fixated on the geography of Dad’s basement. We know where it starts, at least in a material sort of way, but we’re not entirely sure of where it ends “Across the street? A couple of miles away? Canada?” It’s a joke, of course, but one rooted in the peculiar reality of […]

Griffing, 1991-1996

Family History / Houses / Nostalgia / Personal History

(This is Part Five of a series. Part Four is here.) The end of Junior Year, the Countess and I were taking our traditional circuit—shoegaze, cigarettes, a self-guided architectural tour through the fanciest neighborhood in town, which was on the opposite side of town from our own, and through which we could (illicitly) cut on the way to the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Countess had a favorite house, a Gatsbyish ersatz chateau, slightly reminiscent of […]

Fenner, 1991

Family History / Houses / Personal History

(This is the fourth part in a series, the third part is here) I liked the apartment at Fenner. It was light and airy, with wide third-floor windows and views that made Asheville look like an actual, real deal city in the distance. Dad kept birds, two striped finches, in a cage by the kitchen, and continued to feed and water an escaped hamster, Hamlet, out of a couple of antique Spode saucers by the […]

Haywood, 1990-91

Family History / Houses / Nostalgia / Personal History

(This is the third part of a series, part two is here) It was a big deal when the condos were finished. The building was one of the first fully-renovated, maybe the first fully-renovated residential building downtown. In those days, downtown was a millimeter removed from ghost town, and probably still read that way to most people, save my mother, who’d spent the last five years running a non-profit to convince people otherwise. When she’d […]

Westwood, 1976-1991

Family History / Houses / Nostalgia

(This is the second part of a series. Part One is here.) The house on Westwood was two stories tall, a pale stucco colonial, built around 1920. It had thirteen rooms, almost all tiny, and a densely flowered yard, also tiny, overlooking a manmade lake. But to describe my childhood home the way I truly want to describe it, you can’t rely on realism. It exists in a kind of magic space, a liminal, half […]

Sutherlin, 1976

Family History / Houses / Nostalgia

The house on Sutherlin was a duplex. My parents had moved there from a small brick rancher, further out of town on Virginia side, up in a neighborhood that wound up the side of a low ridge, from which my mother had a nearly unimpeded view of the starry night sky. She would stand at the window, contemplating the Big Dipper and the vastness of space. And it was there she decided she’d be happier […]