Wednesday, June 10, 2009

66 Third Avenue Kew

A large part of life is about memory and forgetting. The things you choose to remember, the things you try to forget. Sometimes we remember things the way they really were, sometimes we remember things the way we wish they were, sometimes we remember things the way we think they were. Sometimes the things we try the hardest to forget are the things we remember the most, and sometimes the things we thought we had forgotten weave themselves into our dreams and we awaken to sense distant fragments of pain and the taste of bitter ashes in our mouths.

66 Third Avenue Kew is the house where I grew up. I lived there from 1975 until 1982, from the ages of five to thirteen. It's the place of my happiest childhood memories, and the place where my parents started fighting, got divorced and my whole safe world fell apart. Sometimes I remember the bad stuff, not as much as I used to, but mostly when I remember 66 Third Avenue, the sun is always shining, I'm playing happily in the garden with my little brother, or playing Marco Polo in the swimming pool with my friends, or eating fruit from the beautiful fruit trees we had, plums, nectarines and apricots. In my memory, no fruit is more delicious than those ripe, juicy plums and nectarines we ate on hot Summer days, the juice running down our chins, our fingers sweet and sticky.

Today, I was working for a client in an area right next to my old house, so I decided to take a drive past. I had driven past a couple of years before, so I knew what to expect and that the area had become completely rundown over the passing years. When I lived there it was a typical well kept upper middle class suburb, in my memory how it was, has become a perfect Wisteria Lane, without the secrets and drama's.

I took some photo's, and the grey, dreary weather only served to make the place look even more seedy and desolate.

This was my road. My old house is the second one behind the fence on the right, where youu can just about see a bit of white wall. The area has become a crime hot spot and is now fenced off for security purposes. I wanted to drive past the house but all the roads leading into the suburb are fenced off like this. I ended up driving just about around the whole suburb before I found a small road that was unfenced and managed to make my way to the house.

Electric fences with razor wire behind more razor wire for safety against crime

Desolation row

My old house, 66 Third Avenue Kew. When we lived here, the electronic gate wasn't here and the driveway was open to the road. We didn't have this huge big wall either, there was a small waist high wall separating the garden from the road. Back then it was a safe area to live in, none of the houses had high walls like they do now. We used to ride our bikes with our friends in the road.

This abandoned car service station is just before the security fence in the top photo at the bottom of the road. It belonged to a couple called Bob and Glenda, my parents were friendly with them, they had kids our age and it was a great place to rollerskate and ride bikes over the weekend when it was closed. In those days it was all open and unfenced.

Well, that's the end of my little trip down memory lane. I'll always remember it as it was, and not as it is now.


  1. A beautiful and sadly poignant post. There is something so sad about those fences. Really sad and symbolic of how distant that home is from your life now. Lovely reflections. Thanks for sharing them with us.

  2. what a touching set of memories and photos. it is so strange how memories of childhood places can be so different from the current reality. i have the same feeling when i go by where my grandparents used to live. now the wonderful house they lived in has been torn down and a new bigger but less lovely one is in its place.

  3. Thanks for visiting my blog :)
    This street does look a little rundown, at least you can find your childhood house... mine is now in the middle of a squatter camp!

  4. hello Sarah ,
    thak you for visiting my blog , Your blog is also very nice , I joined your followers.
    greetings from Gea

  5. You have a very interesting blog Sarah and thank you for visiting mine too. Returning to you old childhood area must have been difficult. Well done for being so brave. I am yet to do the same myself.