Places can have a major impact on a person’s life. Whether the impact be negative or positive, the places we have been stay in our memory forever. A place that has had both a positive and negative impact on my life is my childhood home, in Mahwah, New Jersey. Here I experienced highs and lows, with my family, my friends, and within myself. There was an even mix of happy and also sad moments here. This brick home with green shutters surrounded by the woods is the most influential place in my life.
While looking back into my memory, I can think of an endless amount of positive memories at this house. However if I had to choose just one, my favorite memory in this house is from the second grade. My parents sat us down after school one day and announced to us through giddy smiles that we would be getting our very first pet! I had never felt so excited in my life. About a month later we went to the airport and picked up the newest addition to our family. He was a tiny goldendoodle, named Opie. I fondly remember walking through the big brown doors of the house that night with Opie in my hands and my whole family together, feeling like everything had a place.
While there were many amazing moments there, there were plenty of negative ones too. The house itself was beautiful. It was brick and old fashioned on the outside, and included a spacious yard to play with my sisters. The inside was also less modern, yet cozy. It had the physical characteristics of what a home should have, such as a bedrooms, a kitchen, a basement, and a family living inside it. However, there were many changes that occurred in this home starting from when I was in the fourth grade. The most major change I experienced while living in this house was on a cold day in February. It was a Saturday, and I had just gotten out of the shower. I remember my sister coming upstairs and banging on the door to come downstairs because our parents wanted to talk to us. I walked down the stairs without a care in the world, only to walk into the living room to see my two sisters and parents sitting on the couches. My sisters looked bored and like they would have rather been doing anything but sitting there. My parents had distressed, almost worried expressions. I hesitantly took a seat on my favorite red couch and a knot formed in my stomach. My parents then proceeded to tell us that they would be getting a divorce. In that moment I remember feeling hurt, angry and confused. I wanted to run away from that house as fast as I could and never go back. People get divorced all the time, but never had I once thought that would be my parents. It was unexpected and after that day, the simple, care-free life I knew became a confusing and complicated one. That house stopped symbolizing a place where my perfect family stayed together. That living room, and those two red couches will always be associated with negativity in my mind because of that day.
I often think about what it would be like to go back to that house one day. We moved out in fifth grade once my mom met my now step-father and have never gone back inside the home since. I know I would feel nostalgic, and a plethora of memories would flood through my brain. My Uncle John and his family were our neighbors when we lived there, and they happen to still live next to that house today. Uncle John held Christmas Eve at his home this year and that was the first time in almost five years we drove by our old home. When we drove by, I saw that it really had not changed. The only change I saw from the outside was the large evergreen tree in the center of the driveway was plain and not decorated. This is opposite of how it looked during the holidays when we lived there, because my dad always lit up that tree with bright lights and a star on top for all of the neighborhood to see. I did not feel sad when we passed the house though. Instead I felt grateful to have grown up in such a beautiful home surrounded by a great family. I do not think my childhood would be the same had I not lived there.
Overall, I can say that certain places can have a strong affect on people and trigger emotions in them. Everyone has that one place that sparks something in them whether it be a spark of happiness or sadness. I can never forget my childhood home and the experiences I had while living there. My time there, including the good ones and bad ones shaped the person I am today.