Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley. No, not really: not Manderley. Pemberley perhaps? No, these big stately looking houses, imagined and real are open to the public. The house I went to isn’t open to everyone. I actually went to my Nanna’s old house in Liverpool. I didn’t even have to leave my chair to do it. I used a Google Street View Map tool to get there – it took me seconds. That house is now a hostel. I walked down the road I no longer recognise. The garden which seemed so big has shrunk. I wish I could enter the door and go inside and find my Nanna – but I know that I’m just being silly.
That house has haunted me down the years. The walls have seen and heard many a family drama. It was a large family – seven sons and one daughter. Now all gone, including my father. Only the house remains, the walls saturated in our history. I see my Nanna sometimes in my mind, always busy – but she was never too busy to have time for me. the Google Street view is my route back in time: my ball of string – a time machine. What a wonderful tool it is. This poem was inspired by that trip:_
The footsteps trek backwards in brick, orange red
Their dust though forever remains
My past caught like jewels, in times silvery thread
It whispers forgotten refrains.
The welcoming door, now black and forbidden,
Its threshold now shoos me away
Won’t let me go where my memories lie hidden
Lit brightly, one long ago day.
I know what’s beneath all those layers of paint,
The black and white tiles in the hall
Childs fingerprints linger so small and so faint
On stairs that I still can recall.
The garden seems smaller, the roses long gone,
The curtains are closed on my past,
A shadowy place where the sun always shone
Where memories remain and hold fast.
They speak in a voice only I understand.
They sing and they call me by name
I still see them smile as they take up my hand
Unchanged and remaining the same.
©L. M. Roberts 2010
Explore the world at street level with the Google Street View here