I bought the house I grew up in.

The Manse in Queensborough in late January 2012, a little over a week before we officially took possession. (Note the "Sold" sign in front!)

“I bought the house I grew up in.” I’ve noticed that no matter whom I say that to, there’s a similarity in the expression their faces take on: a hint of a smile mixed with a hint of wistfulness; a faraway look in their eyes. They’re thinking about the house they grew up in. Then they almost invariably say something to the effect of, “That is so cool!”

Is returning to one’s childhood home a primal desire, I wonder? At least for those of us lucky enough to have had a happy childhood?

Anyway, I’ve gone and done it. Or more specifically, we have. My husband, Raymond, is the other half of this possibly demented venture. But he didn’t grow up in the house, obviously. Which makes his willing-bordering-on-enthusiastic participation all the more winsome. Raymond is the best husband ever.

We bought it today. This very day. Monday, January 30, 2012, for the record. The call from our lawyer saying that the deal had closed came shortly after 12 noon.

We are now the proud owners of the Manse (as everybody calls it) in Queensborough, Ontario, Canada. It’s a manse because that’s one of the names for the house that the minister/priest/vicar/pastor of a church lives in; in some denominations it’s known as a rectory or a parsonage. For the people of St. Andrew’s United Church in Queensborough, and everybody else in the village and the surrounding area, it was, and is, the Manse.

My family moved into the Manse on a sunny day in 1964. I believe it was July. I was four years old. My father, Rev. Wendell Sedgwick, was beginning his first appointment as a United Church of Canada minister after graduating from divinity school at Emmanuel College, University of Toronto. He was just shy of 33 years old.

All the world was young.

26 thoughts on “I bought the house I grew up in.

  1. I am already enjoying “living at the manse” vicariously, through your blog, Katherine, and will look forward to your daily posts! Congratulations to you and Ray on today’s closing. We’re very happy for you both! Love, Eloise and Rick

  2. That is awesome assuming u had axgreat childhood. Noting it was the mid sixties I would have to believe life was sweet!

  3. Hi Katherine.
    I’m Ray’s cousin Lisa from New Hampshire. I would love to follow your blog. How can I be sure to see it if Ray doesn’t post it on Facebook?
    This sounds like such an exciting journey you are about to take. I wish you luck, and can’t wait to read further posts.
    Lisa Ozana

  4. Such a heartwarming event. The very best of luck to you, Katherine and Ray. I’m certain that man great times will be enjoyed at The Manse. I hope to be part of making memories there. Love, Lorraine

  5. Congratulations! A Votre Sante! Sounds like an exciting new journey for you both and I look forward to the updates.

  6. Best of luck to the two of you on this wonderful adventure. I’m trying to think of something to say beyond “that is so cool.” There is something special in the house(s) we grew up in, or even just lived in, that pulls us back to see them again and again whenever we can. I would dearly love to inhabit the old stone two-storey we lived in in Fergus, Ont., in the very early ’60s, but I suspect the rooms would seem smaller today than they are in my memory and the neighbourhood will have undergone transformative alterations as well. Still, I’ll enjoy watching your experiences. Who knows? Maybe someday….

    • Hey Doug, thanks for your good wishes! Funny what you say about the rooms being smaller than one remembers them; that’s exactly what I found on our first speculative tour of the Manse last June. The bedroom that my sister and I used to share – with bed, two desks, a big bookcase, and a “dresser” (does anyone have dressers anymore? the kind with the drawers below and the mirror on hinges above?) – is absolutely tiny!

  7. Hey. First time ever blogging…. Let’s get this friggin thing fixed up and how soon before I’m sipping a merlot on the porch i shared w Larry Parks?

    • Seriously! Merlot?
      I’m thinking White Lightning is way more appropriate. Hey Raymond that would be a fantastic introduction to local culture – track down the resident moonshiners. I’d start by heading north on Lingham Lake Rd and follow your nose…

      • Hey, no disrespecting the people of Hastings County in this blog! (Though I’d be surprised if there weren’t moonshiners in the territory back in the day.)

      • Disrespect? Never. I grew up near Omemee.
        I’ve always been deeply impressed by the “can do” local attitude.

  8. Katherine – I’ve sort of read these entries out of order, but loved reading each one of them. What a wonderful idea for you to document the process. I’m guessing that soon I will have yet another place to go visit — tell your brother I will join him on the porch with a glass of merlot! So happy for both of you!

  9. Bruce, you disrespecting white lightning? Turns out AMS can lead us to an old still. 100% serious. We’ll get John and Daniel to fix it up, and we’ll be in business in 2 shakes of a coon’s tail. Sit on the porch with Larry – or up in the church hills – and count our money…

    • See above – I’m totally with you. We have a couple of epicureans to consult with (read Raymond and Katherine) so I bet we could turn out some real sippin ‘shine

  10. Good stuff Sedgwick. Nothing like church and family to get you all fired up.
    Apropos of childhood houses, I was the last one to walk through ours in Toronto. I went into the tiny broom closet in the kitchen and found a spot where I didn’t think a paint brush would reach and wrote ” This is a very nice house”. That was in 1994.
    Last year, my high-school boyfriend -now married – took his little girl to a birthday party. When he pulled up to the house he realized it was my family home. He reminisced about it with his daughter who told me that her friend now lives there. I remembered the broom closet and sure enough, Angelina got her friend to tuck into it and check. “This is a very nice house” is still there.

    I loved that house. I am very happy and excited for you. What a gift.

  11. Hi,

    I stumbled across this blog site through a flyer announcing your Teeny Tiny Summit in Maynooth coming up on June 21st. I grew up in manses as a PK in Lloydminster Sask., Hamilton, Grimsby and Winona Ontario in the 1950s and 60s and found myself (and my wife) buying a United Church manse in the Ottawa Valley hamlet of Douglas, Ontario back in 1977. We continue to enjoy this beautiful old home yet, after 39 years. I am planning on attending your session in Maynooth and look forward to meeting you.

    • Hello, fellow preacher’s kid Dave! So great to hear from you. I look forward to meeting you on the 21st and sharing stories of manse childhoods – and especially hearing about the experience of you and your wife in buying and moving to a historical old manse in a tiny place. I bet you have lots of wisdom to share with Raymond and me!

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