The Power of Place

By on 11 May, 2012 in Sandra Nickel with 0 Comments

On Sunday I was a house host at 2224 Country Club Drive, one of eleven homes featured on Montgomery’s annual Old House Expo. As is always the case, the afternoon was filled with Midtowners (and others) ooohing and aaahing and generally enjoying themselves as they trekked from address to address.

Generally, Old House Expo visitors move fairly quickly because they are on a mission to see all the homes in a short timespan. But at my location, two groups in a row stayed and stayed … and stayed. After the first couple had been with me for a good long while, the gentleman shared with me that he had grown up in the home and was having the time of his life reliving his childhood and discovering all the additions and renovations that had occurred since his family had moved on.

Imagine my surprise — and his — when the other “lingerer,” a woman, announced that she, too, had spent her childhood at 2224 Country Club Drive. What were the odds, I wondered, of their both visiting not only that afternoon but at the same time?! Slim … but it happened. Serendipity!

The pull of that place — that home and that little neighborhood — on Kim and Paul was powerfully evident as they chatted and shared with the family members who were with them. Gradually, a small crowd even gathered around, drawn by the looks of joy as they dialed back the clock and the calendar.

What fun it was to listen as Kim Branum Scarbrough and Paul Freehling swapped stories about other families on the street. They reminisced about hours and days spent playing without supervision in the safety and security of a city park hidden behind the homes across the street.

As I listened, I could not help but be reminded about my own childhood in the St. Louis suburb of Kirkwood, Missouri. In the summertime, we all went outside after breakfast and were not expected to return until lunch and dinner. After dark, we were still outside playing hide-and-seek and other games. Not a moment’s worry for our folks, either, because everybody knew everybody and looked out for one another.

Others who grew up there actually did a study to determine why we all felt that place was so very special. After Sunday, I realized that place — whatever the place — is powerful and the memories stored up, be they good or not-so-good, have power over us and our future.

What kind of memories are you storing up in your places?

Sandra Nickel has been listing and selling residential real estate for over 29 years, most with an intense focus on Montgomery’s Midtown neighborhoods. Sandra serves on the Mid-Alabama Coalition for the Homeless, the Cloverdale Business Coalition, Historic Southview, the Volunteer and Information Center, Landmarks Foundation and her own neighborhood Garden District Preservation Association.

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