Our House, In the Middle of the Street

After the age of eight years old, I never had a home of my own. My parents separated when I was seven and when I was eight my maternal biological grandfather, who owned the house we’d lived in since I was six months old, kicked us out. Yeah, you read that right, my grandfather gave his newly single daughter and her three and seven-year-old sons respectively the collective boot.

After that, we moved in with my pseudo-stepfather for two years. I say pseudo because even though they never married, and in later years I came to seriously loathe the man because of how he treated my baby brother, I still consider him my stepfather. When my mother split with him we lived with my maternal great grandparents for a few months. Then we had a trailer for eight months or so. After that, we moved in with my maternal grandparents where I stayed until just before my fourteenth birthday when I left all of the chaos and moved in with my father and stepmother.

Fast forward four years.

Due to circumstances I’ve long grown tired of discussing, I left my father’s home after graduation and moved back in with my maternal grandparents for a year while I work and saved money. A year later, two of my friends and I got an apartment together and boy wasn’t that a mistake. One of my roommates was pretty cool and easy to live with, but the other… yeah, that was a clusterfuck of rage monkey proportions.

Then I met my wife. We moved in together, got married, and rented a slightly rundown, but very cozy house. We got a cat and had two more kids to add to the three she already had. Life was pretty damn good. Who am I kidding? Other than being very poor, life was pretty great all things considered.

Then we bought a house.

Let me state right up front I NEVER wanted to buy a house, but I never really stated my lack of desire either. My wife wanted to own a home and I wanted, and still want, her to have everything she wants. So through the efforts of a VERY shady realtor and lender, we bought a house we had no business buying and could not afford.

That house I affectionately referred to it as the crap shack when we realized we’d been screwed by our stupid nativity and the shenanigans of the seller and realtor. Seriously it was being held together by hobo spit and wallpaper paste. Long story short, between the presence of eight people (We had a sixth child), no money for the exponentially increasing need for repairs, and WAY TOO MANY pet (I’m a recovering pet hoarder. I admit it and I own it. I have no pets and I will never have another pet) the crap shack degenerated into something more fitting post-Soviet Eastern Europe… or Detroit.

For eight years, we did everything we could to keep the payments current and until 2008 we were doing a yeomanlike job of it. Then the economy crashed, our interested rates went up, the county taxes increased, and our house lost half its value overnight. After three more years of trying to empty the ocean with a teaspoon, we let the bank have the house, destroyed our credit, got rid of all of our animals, rented a house, and moved out.

Even though we moved less than ten minutes away, I never went back.

Fast forward to two days ago, four and a half years since I’d laid eyes on the house, and my middle daughter came home from a date. She told me she and her boyfriend (And boy howdy I’m having trouble wrapping my head around that one) went on a tour of her childhood which included driving by the old house. Turns out it’s not there anymore. Apparently it was torn down about four months ago.

I felt like I’d been kicked square in the junk.

My home, the place I raised my kids and lived longer than anywhere else in my life was gone. It’d been erased like it never existed. Yeah I hated the place and I’d never wanted to buy it, but some of the best moments of my life had happened there. Yeah, there’d been some horrible things as well, but after four and a half years I’ve moved past most of them. I’ll never own a home again. Even if we can afford it after our credit is fixed, I don’t want one. I’d rather rent. I’d rather never get attached to a place again.

I was a bad homeowner… but I miss my home.


– Josh







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Josh Hilden

When I was born on August 3, 1976 in the great state of Michigan the hills shook and the sky was swept with fire. These were portents of the greatness for my future that was written in the stars ... I'm still waiting for that greatness. My name is Josh Hilden and I am many things. I am a husband, a father, a son, a friend. These are all important things but at my core I am an artist and the medium that I work in is words. I am a writer of Horror, Science Fiction, Drama, and Role Playing Games. I worked for Palladium Books (www.palladiumbooks.com) and Third Eye Games (www.thirdeyegames.net) before striking out on my own and founding a small press publishing company Gorillas with Scissors Press (www.gwspress.com). I also work for Fat Goblin Games (www.fatgoblingames.com). In the everyday world I can be found spending time with my family and friends. I have been married to my lovely wife Karen since 1996 and we have six amazing children. We tend to be a family of unabashed geeks and gamers who were geek before geek was chic. If you are really interested in me I am very active online with a personal and a writing blog along with a plethora of social media outlets. If you have any questions or just want to chat hit me up!