the familiarity of new places

Friends of mine in Louisville – my hometown – recently bought a house that, 50 years ago, had been rented as duplex apartments. Serendipitously, my uncle was a tenant on the 2nd floor of that house in the 1960s. It was my cousin’s first home. During my last visit to Louisville, my friends showed me the upstairs of their house, and I imagined what would have been my uncle’s kitchen and living room, where my baby cousin’s crib might have been. I imagined his little sister (my aunt at 14!) and his mother (my grandma at 51!) walking up the stairs to visit, perhaps holding a casserole dish or a dripping umbrella.

The phrase “if these walls could talk” is a common one for a reason. We all see and feel (and imagine) history in the various buildings we roam inside of, walk past, inhabit, and visit.

This train depot in my town was built in 1910. The building is now a coffee shop with wifi and couches. I sit there and imagine the family reunions that took place long ago, the newspapers read on sturdy wooden benches, the tickets purchased at a ticket window. Perhaps, 50 years from now, someone will walk past this same building and imagine me sitting inside on my laptop sipping Irish Breakfast tea.

I hope so.

Do some places you know have stories to tell?