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A View From a Street

Also titled, “Now I’m a Spy”

First of all, I’d like to say that I cannot remember when I’ve enjoyed comments more, than on my post about  brushing up against greatness. Thank you.  Made my weekend.

Well.  Something big happened around here on Friday.  After much feet dragging, I’ve joined the technological revolution by purchasing an iPhone.

Oh yes my friends.  Me.  The gal who thinks a mobile phone should measure the circumference of the sole of a shoe.  The girl who is still mourning the untimely death of her canary yellow Sony Walkman.  The girl who still owns, gulp, LPs.

When the price of an iPhone dropped, I decided that I needed one for, um, work.  Yeah.  That’s it.

I can justify most anything.  It’s a gift.

So I’ve spent the weekend learning the intricacies of the iPhone.  And after a game of Scrabble against my iPhone, I’ve gotten proof that it’s smarter than me.

But there are cool features I was not aware of.  For example, on Saturday we headed over to the in-laws to dump the children in their pool.  Because it was a balmy 116 degrees here in Florida.

Somebody forgot to tell Florida that SPRING would have been a nice prelude to AFRICA HOT.

So on the journey there, Fiddledaddy suggested that I whip out my iPhone and look up directions to my in-laws house.  Since I was riding shotgun.  “But I know how to get to their house.  So do you.”

“Humor me.  Check out the Google Maps application.

So I plugged in my in-laws address, and OH MY GOODNESS, THERE WAS A PICTURE OF THEIR HOUSE ON MY iPHONE.  I’m not talking about an aerial view, but like a picture that looked like someone was standing on their driveway.


I mean, I knew of this aerial view business, I’ve looked up my own house that way just to see what the heck was really up with the “nature preserve” behind us that we paid extra for.

Which I’m certain is some covert secret government operation because the dense overgrowth stops dead, and then there is some sort of weird pattern carved out where there ought to be a water reservoir.  But I’m not going back there.  No siree.

Anyhoo.  We got curious and I plugged in our house address and OH MY GOODNESS, THERE WAS A PICTURE OF OUR HOUSE ON MY iPHONE.

And I was a little embarrassed.  The day this picture (heavy use of air quotes) was taken, was evidently last year when we were expecting our freezer to be delivered, and the garage door was open and all my CRAP was spilling out onto the lawn.  Not to mention it was trash day and we looked like we were just an hour short of putting the car up on cinder blocks.

I wondered if Google would let us submit our own photo.  Or at least photoshop the one that was used.

Fiddledaddy explained to me that Google sends their minions out like all over the world with a camera attached to the top of the car.  A camera that takes pictures at a 360 degree angle.

That’s just a little too big brotherish for me.

But that didn’t stop me from entering my old childhood address in Cincinnati.  I was able to see a part of my old house.  The part that wasn’t covered by overgrown trees and, well, overgrowth.  I was saddened to see that the house which once boasted of a beautifully manicured lawn, had fallen into such disrepair.  But I shouldn’t have been surprised.  My childhood best friend, Karen, had sent me a link to a news article that mentioned my old house as a location for a bust because it was a suspected meth lab.  I chronicled that story here.

Using the google street map, I followed my old route to the bus stop.  I recognized my neighbor’s house across the street immediately.  Happily it hadn’t changed.  And was well cared for.  There were many houses that had been added to vacant lots.  Lots which once were impromptu kickball fields and tree climbing adventure spots.  One such lot was right next to our old house.  Even though we didn’t own it, my dad kept it mowed and cared for.  We had many adventures in that lot.  And it served as an excellent spot for the yearly summer lemonade stand.

The stand which financed my love of Little Kiddles and Reeses peanut butter cups.

A house sits there now.  Right where the tree that I fell out of as a child once stood.

The neighborhood was not as pretty as a remember.  I chalk it up to hard times.  Or the rose colored glasses that I wear whenever my mind wanders back to those carefree days of youth.

I have always longed to return there and walk that well worn bus path again.  And now with the aid of google, I can.

But somehow I really think it would have been better to have left it alone as I last remembered it when I was 12.

Are you curious?  Have you ever been tempted to type in an old childhood address and see what it looks like now?


18 Responses to A View From a Street

  • Nope, never have, but did. Just an aerial view, and not a tight one.

    Did plug in my current address though. . . need to remember to keep the yard looking nicer.


  • I only discovered how to use Google Street View a couple of months ago – isn’t it a hoot?! Freaky, but fun.

    I tried looking up my childhood house, but they didn’t take their cameras down my street, so no pictures for me. 🙁

    I think it’s great for pre-travel planning, when you’re going somewhere you’ve never been before – just hop onto the street view and “drive” down the road(s), and when you get where you’re going, things look familiar, so you can find your way much more easily!

  • I’ve looked at the street-view photos of all the places I’ve lived. I should probably say here that I’m part gypsy, and that “all the places I’ve lived” adds up to nearly “all the years I am.” I found it a teensy bit depressing that none of them looked anything like I remembered. The house in Memphis with the HUUUUUUUGE porch? Turns out that porch is barely big enough for one lawn chair. The place in Modesto is now a vacant lot now and the duplex in Mary Esther, Florida looks like the sort of place that would make Horatio Caine remove his shades and growl unintelligibly.

    “We’re not the jet set; we’re the old Chev-ro-let set…”

  • Hubs showed me Google Maps a while back and I was freaked out too. I didn’t like someone looking at my house, taking pictures. The goodness, it was done before Hurricane Ike came and let his mark, now it looks different. New paint, landscaping, the works. HA to you Google Maps!!

  • I just about freaked out when I found the picture of our house, too, with the garage door OPEN and all of our possessions right there for the world to view. I panned over to my neighbor’s house and they were actually sitting in lawn chairs watching their young children play. (Yes, the picture even includes the kids.) Umm… isn’t this invasion of privacy or something???

    The thing that really freaks me out? These are the pictures that are public. What about the technology and pictures that aren’t?

    Excuse me… I need to go make a foil hat to wear…

  • I would love to see the house I lived in in Austin, Tx but I can’t remember the address. Gee, I’m old.

  • I’m SOOOO jealous. I want an IPhone so much I could spit. I have three words for you – Starbucks Locator App.

  • Oh yea! I’ve checked out all the places I lived…even went one step farther….property appraisers site. Now that’s fun! 😀

  • Oh my GOSH that totally freaks me out!!! I can’t look. OK maybe I’ll look to see if my house is on there. But I don’t have a garage (for one brief moment I am thankful for this) so I bet I can tell you what the pic looks like. Lots of dirt, weeds and a shrub or two. Great. Maybe I won’t look after all.

  • And also PS I am with you on the where the heck did spring go? It saw the heat wave coming and decided to skip on out. Ugh!

  • Yeah. The address I sent you? Not ours. Really. No need to iPhone GoogleApp StalkMe.

    But, I can think of a few other addresses you could stalk, I mean, peruse.

    Google. Coming to take over the world near you.

  • My parents STILL live in the house I grew up in as a kid. My dad built it, in fact. They bought 5 acres of land from my dad’s family’s original homestead which my grandparents lived on. And when my grandparents died, my dad bought out his sisters’ shares of the farm and they rent out the old farmhouse. Crazy, huh?

  • My dad still lives in the house I grew up in too – he bought the land from his father who was a dairy farmer.

    I work in Cincinnati – lived in Fairfield, but am now moving to Xenia. My husband got a job at Urbana University north of Dayton – I’m keeping my job so Xenia is halfway…

  • following the little blue dot that’s me, to the little red dot that’s my destination, is my latest way to get someplace.
    Take note though….the little blue dot is about a tenth of a mile behind where you ACTUALLY are! makes for crazy turns!

    have fun shopping the APP store!

  • My husband was in the air force for a while so I looked up all those houses as well. It was fun to see the old places where we began our family. I really enjoyed the walk down memory lane.

  • WOO HOO!! I just looked at a picture of our house and it looks like the day they took the picture was the day after my sweet husband had spent hours in the front yard mowing. It looks FABULOUS!!

    I did look at my childhood home, makes me sad that I don’t live there anymore! I MISS HOME!!

  • First, let me just say: Little Kiddles… EEEEEEE!!!

    My current house doesn’t have a street view published, but I looked up my childhood home, which I moved out of nearly 35 years ago. The neighborhood has become a slum, and the house itself is in horrible shape. The landscaping is gone, replaced by broken up concrete and trash.

    I sat there in denial at first… “that CAN’T be it…” until I checked it from every possible angle. Yep, that’s it.