The Home on Van Buren

I’ll never know a home like the one I grew up in.

It’s not just the home where I spent the first twenty years of my life. It’s the place where, as a child, I explored every nook and cranny. I knew exactly how far the water hose stretched in order to drench my sisters while they played on the swing. I knew how to climb on the roof to retrieve balls that wouldn’t budge from the carport, and I knew where to jump down so my parents couldn’t see me.

I didn’t grow up with a Nintendo or Xbox. Unless the Steelers were playing, I had little reason to sit in front of the TV.

I’d much rather be outside playing wiffleball with Butch who lived across the street. Every young boy needs a friend named Butch. We made our own rules. If the ball landed in the street it was an automatic out. So we learned to bat left-handed and pull the ball onto the neighbors lawn. The third pole from the right served as first base, and the water meter cover served as second.


I thought about the old house this past week as my parents were packing  and moving into a new home a few miles north. It served as their home for 40 years and looks about the same as it did when they moved in other than a few trees my father planted.

Visiting Ogden this summer won’t feel quite the same. The hub of our extended family now belongs to someone else. Life goes on.

Many of my favorite memories center around helping my father around the yard. Each Saturday I was expected to mow the lawn after I watched an episode of Hong Kong Phooey or two.

Our mower didn’t have a bag to catch the clippings so my father made me mow the grass in two directions effectively turning our basic mower into a mulcher. At the beginning of each summer I’d beg my father for a new model, and he finally got around to purchasing a fancy Honda mower the year I moved out of the house.

I’ll sure miss the old home, but I have a lot of great memories of the place.

And that pine tree you see on the foreground? That served as third base when it was only a few feet off the ground.