What Do You See?


“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” – Henry David Thoreau


This week, on the heels of my breakthrough with my mom, I found out that the house in Chicago where I grew up had been demolished.  My mind immediately ran through the litany of bad things that took place in that house.


This time, though, instead of dwelling on the past too long and feeling horrible, I changed my perspective.  Life at 6447 was far from ‘Brady Bunch’ quality, but I did have some good times in that house.


My deep and abiding love of music started in that house.  My mom always had music playing, everything from Motown to the Beatles and Elton John.  ‘Come Together’ and ‘Bennie & the Jets’ are still two of my favorite songs to this day.



My love of reading was fostered in that house.  My mom often read bedtime stories to my younger brother and me before my other 2 younger siblings were born.  She used to read us ‘Toussaint L’ouverture’ from Ntozake Shange’s ‘for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf’.  Yes, I know.   The book itself is not exactly children’s material, but we loved the story about Toussaint and my mom always read it with such emotion and theatrics.


We laughed in that house.  We had parties and sleepovers in that house.  We played board games in that house.  We had delicious food in that house.  We survived that house and I am grateful.  When I think of all the good times I had growing up in that house, they seem a lot bigger than the bad ones.  That doesn’t lessen the pain we endured there, but it provides another place to rest my focus.   Perspective is absolutely everything.



So, R.I.P. 6447 So. Aberdeen, you were more than just a  house.  Your bad times made me stronger and  your good times still bring me joy.




5 responses »

  1. i saw memories that have been on lockdown but are about to be unlocked . who knows whats locked in those closets , but its destined to be quite a visit if you go in without expectations. sometimes bad things make us all forget the good stuff… you need the good stuff . it gives life balance.

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