Stephanie, Houses Don’t Feel…

24 02 2010

Somedays it seems like my anthropomorphism* towards places is overwhelming.
For instance, six years later, I still think about the house I grew up in… hoping it’s being treated well and that it’s happy.
I know that homes are inanimate, but my belief system leads me to understand that everything has a purpose/feelings.
Yeah, yeah, I know.

ANYWAY, Buffalo (proper) is pretty much a dying city. Empty homes, desolate lawns, substandard living conditions; you heard about Extreme Home Make Over, right?
I subscribe to a number of  why-does-this-happen?!?! newsletters/websites where various people highlight the blight and ask why.
And in making myself all boo-hoo and sad, I read these posts and look at the homes/business that once were and also wonder why.
So, over at Broadway-Fillmore Alive! this video was posted:

It just breaks my heart.
No, really.
I see these homes and I think about the history involved… kids learning how to walk on their wood floors, board games played in living rooms, angry teenagers stomping up stairs, the excitement of a first home, birthday parties, baths in clawfoot tubs, pianos in the den with singalongs, love letters written in bedrooms… if the walls could talk!
Now, I know houses don’t feel, but I still can’t help but think of an older home smiling, wanting to help, feeling proud that it’s doing it’s job: keeping the family safe, dry, warm… akin to “The Giving Tree”.
And I just imagine them feeling sad, left behind, lonely, hurt when the family moves or is evicted. Or when his window eyes are broken. And his door boarded up. And getting The Red Mark of Death**

Photo by David Torke (

Yes,  I understand we can’t save all the abandoned homes/buildings… it doesn’t help me to feel any less sad for the houses… who can’t feel….

* I’ll save you the trouble: the act of giving human qualities to objects/places/things that aren’t human. e.g. Houses don’t “feel”; polar bears don’t “talk”
** Housing speak for condemned




8 responses

24 02 2010

it is wasteful, as well as heartbreaking… finding the right way to provide some tender loving care to run down properties would be a damn fine use for some of that stimulus money.

25 02 2010
Stephanie of Stopbouncing

Part of the problem is that some/most of the homes are in, um, undesirable neighborhoods.
So, not only is there the blight issue, but you’ve got drugs, arson and other various safety issues to deal with.
Maybe some of the first rings suburbs could be saved.

24 02 2010

Exactly. I don’t know that houses feel, but the atmosphere retains those who formerly were part of the fabric, not only the home but the neighborhood. An empty house quickly falls apart, and not just because the pipes burst.

I’ve thought about this a lot, just can’t quite put my finger on it.

25 02 2010

Our first house was sold to a landscaper, who thought he’d flip it. The market crashed; so he did a little bit of work to it – but, ironically, not the landscaping. The “grass” grew to FEET. My refridgerator was still there, as was my air conditioner, and random other stuff. We went in once. I saw my NEWBUILTBYANTHONY bathroom all infested with insects and such. At one point, something blew up, started a fire, and “condemned” the property for a short period of time… Despite the problems, I thought of buying the place BACK. It was our first HOUSE!

3.5 years later, it was sold to an old russian couple, who now stay there some weekends.

So, I could have just said – I totally get it.

25 02 2010

Anthropomorphism seems to be a word/topic I’ve been running into a lot lately – I don’t know if it’s because more people are talking about it, or if it’s always been out there and I just never noticed before… But it’s definitely a interesting topic!

Anyway, if you think that houses can feel sad, imagine how the poor rover on Mars feels… 😦

26 02 2010
Dennis the Vizsla

Reminds me of some of the worse parts of Utica. It is sad to think of all the history and lives that went through those houses, as if once the house is gone, they’ll never have been.

Also, I find it slightly remarkable how many of them still have satellite dishes attached.

26 02 2010
Stephanie of Stopbouncing

Becky: Yeah, this post had been rumbling about in my brain for a while, I still don’t think it’s done/eloquent.

Stacy: Why do we have such connections to our homes, even when we’ve moved on? Is it that we cared so much and other people don’t?

Jill: I saw that cartoon and pouted a bit.. poor ‘ittle rover.

DtV/Jim: We are not so different, are we? Oh, and dishes have no copper. No copper=no use.

27 02 2010

I have the same thoughts & feelings about old houses. It makes me ache when I see them left to rot. So much waste.. The craftsmanship cannot be topped by new construction, and yet most people don’t have the time or money to invest in restoration. If you haven’t seen it Steph, go check out the book Ruin by Brian Vanden Brink. You will love it.

PS: Happy Saturday! Go to thrift shop or a yard sale. NOW.

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