A sad day today, and a bit of personal history.
The house where my siblings and I lived and grew up, from the summer of 1975 to spring 2022, has now finally been sold.
The property was built in the late 1920s, as part of a suburban development of 'exhibition homes' near the English market town of Romford, in Essex. It bordered the grounds of what long ago used to be 'Giddy Hall,' a thirteenth century manor, later owned by the Lord Mayor of London in 1452. Our house was a mock-Tudor-style monster on the corner of Links Avenue, running parallel to Romford Golf Course – thus, we always referred to it as 'Two Links.'
I lived at Links for thirteen years with my parents, Bob and Tess, sister Judy, brother Peter, several cats, a beagle, Judy's pet duck Russell, and our maternal Nana, who had a 'granny annex' downstairs. It was a grand, drafty old house, full of heavy doors, wonky leaded windows, and dusty old fireplaces. One of those fireplaces was a fabulous Norman-style brick construction in the dining room. That became the heart of every Christmas, when Dad loaded it with logs from the garden, and it heated the whole house.
In the late '70s, Dad chopped down the plum tree in the center of the garden, where we once had our treehouse, and he put in a heated swimming pool. At the time, that was rare for the neighborhood and it became the site of many barbecues, including Dad's epic 80th birthday bash with 'marquee' tent and jazz band. Another big upheaval, when we first moved in, was when Mum and Dad upgraded the kitchen by transforming a tiny pantry, kitchenette and breakfast area into a space-age, open-plan 1970s tile and formica job, with streamline curves and built-in fixtures. That connected to a double garage 'bar room' conversion with its own counter, hi-fi system, and booping, beeping, electronic slot machine. The bar was home to Peter's band practices, Judy's social gatherings, and my Super 8 filmmaking meetings. Upstairs, was my favorite refuge, our attic 'loft room' with a rickety pull-down ladder where I spent many hours building my 00-gauge train set, with mountains, tunnels and villages (I took no pictures!).
When I started work in the film industry, I commuted between Links and London until I left to start my life in the United States, December 1988. I visited home for Christmases and birthdays, and happily got to share a few jolly visits with Patti. Judy lived at Links with her lovely daughter, Jessica, caring for our parents, until Mum passed away in Christmas 2019 and Dad a year later. The pandemic sadly prevented me from returning to say my last goodbyes in person, and I felt terribly guilty trying to help with online auctions and the complicated conveyancing. That all wrapped up today.
Here's a digital slideshow of many happy memories, from 1983 till recent.