I guess it’s a cliché to revisit your childhood home and get all heavy-hearted for the good ol’ days of youth. With rose-coloured glasses on, some of us insist that our formative years were magical, innocent and simpler than life is today. I am certainly guilty of this. True to my Cancerian nature, roaming around in the past is something I do regularly. Recently I had the opportunity to savour this fetish in a real way when I revisited the house I lived in from birth to twelve years of age when it came up for sale.
The experience was strangely consoling. The house is a three bedroom, red-brown brick American bungalow built in the 1920s. Curiosity drew me along with my mother and niece to have a peek when the property was open for inspection in September. Aesthetically, not a lot had changed except for the garden, which had been developed and maintained in a thoughtful way and included a well and picnic table. I noted that the front door with its stained glass of oversized red roses and green petals remained unchanged, more polished and fresher than I remembered. The wallpaper in the hallway had been replaced with a pattern similar to the one I’d known in the 1970s. The fact that these features remained unchanged or altered slightly to resemble what was there before gave me a strong feeling of de-ja-vu. I recall how straightforward and liberal life was then. As children, we drank wine diluted with lemonade at dinner, allowed to puff on our grandfather’s cigarette, encouraged to read books that grabbed our attention, and permitted to watch hours of television without ‘recommended parental guidance’. More importantly, we were let loose in the neighbourhood to run around, play cricket with other kids in the middle of the road, ride bikes or skateboards streets away, and let off steam in a healthy, physical way. There wasn’t much that was regulated in my childhood.
I don’t want to give away the entire address out of respect for the residents, but I do have to mention how significant the house number and street name are on a cosmic level - 40 Fourth Avenue. The prominence of the number four reveals a stable and traditional home, a stronghold well-shielded from the anguishes of the outside world. Occupants of number four dwellings tend to live there long term and are often entrenched in routine. My family lived there for fifteen years (1965 to 1980) before selling it to the couple who recently put it on the market (1980 to 2015). Our next-door neighbours also lived at 40 Fourth Avenue for a couple of decades prior to my parents purchasing the property, and before our neighbours owned the home, their own parents had lived there for some decades from the 1920s when the house was built! I find all this refreshing and comforting in our wobbly times where the status of ‘the home’ is demoted to nothing more than a box where workers go to be watered, fed and rested between long intervals of productivity at the office. It was gratifying to see the place lovingly refurbished to look, feel, and function like a ‘family home’, not an airbrushed real estate brochure. The current Black Plague of overdevelopment spoiling Sydney's suburbs means that houses like Fourth Avenue are an endangered species. Such properties are often targeted for demolition by developers to make way for depressing tower blocks of small cubicles marketed as 'luxury apartments'. On writing, Fourth Avenue would have sold for a ridiculous amount of money, probably to an overseas investor. I don’t know what is in store has for the property, but I hope the Gods are kind.
I am three years away from my number four pinnacle and turning the milestone age of fifty. It worries me when I think about this combination – a middle age where hard work and financial management are at the forefront of my life. How boring is that? I had hoped that by this stage I would be breaking off the shackles of conventional work. The visit to my old family home shifted my perspective. Having Saturn in the fourth house of my natal chart proved restrictive in my adolescence for many reasons, but I now witness the pearl forming inside the gritty shell. The positive aspect of a fourth house Saturn is symbolised by 40 Fourth Avenue – stability, security, reliability of the people around you, and the certainty of knowing your place in that space. I can take these qualities with me into my number four pinnacle and believe that such a solid base is the perfect springboard for jumping into the activities I want to develop.
As a kid, I was madly creative. Bursting with ideas for plays, films, writing fiction, drawing, painting, and song writing, I knew who I was and what my talents were. That knowing got lost on the way to adulthood, as it does with some of us. I believe my early development was a result of great schooling and a solid home base. It’s taken me many years to discover the gem hidden within the number four vibration and fourth house Saturn. I have 40 Fourth Avenue to thank for that.