This Old House

This old house began as a dream two “kids” had about building a place of their own.  Built on land bought from his family, they sunk every dime they had saved into it and their future.

This old house saw a groom carry his bride over the threshold when they’d been married only two short months.  They didn’t have enough money for furniture or curtains, but didn’t know enough to miss them.

This old house bloomed with the pitter patter of children’s feet as the years passed.  Children who ran and played and sang and danced their way through life.  Children who brought friends home for swimming and slumber parties, for prom dinners and Bible studies.  Children who never let life get dull or boring because there were too many dance lessons, cheer practices, sports events, school projects and church activities to count.

This old house laughed with friends and family on holidays and birthdays and plain old “no special reason” days when it was filled with the smell of wonderful food and the sounds of chatter everywhere.

This old house cried when knees were scraped and bones were broken, when teenage hearts were shattered and plans didn’t go as hoped, and when a baby was lost before it could be held.

This old house celebrated milestones for its occupants and so many others — babies, weddings, birthdays and anniversaries, graduations, going-aways and homecomings.

This old house winced when voices were raised and unkind things were said, when patience was lost and bad decisions were made, when anger showed up and disrupted things.

This old house rejoiced when apologies were made and forgiveness ruled the day, when peace returned and there was acceptance that we don’t all do things the same way – and that’s a good thing.

This old house swelled as friends and family came to stay – some for a night, some for a year; some we first met when they walked in the door, but all left precious memories here.

This old house quieted as children grew older and made new lives on their own, leaving the groom and his bride time to savor the wonderful lives they had lived there and the enduring love they shared for each other.

This old house mourned when the couple was no longer a couple, when their life together was cut short by disease and all that was left was the memory of their time together.

This old house is empty now. The emptiness of the rooms makes an echo of the quiet sobs that say yet another good-bye. I know that I will never again sit here in these rooms that contained my entire married life. I know that today ends the chance I have to make memories in this old house.

But tomorrow . . . . . . . a new family will begin their time in

This Old House.


Back to the Future

It’s been several months since I last posted on the blog.  But it’s certainly not because I’ve been lazy.  On the second anniversary of Michael’s death I asked God to show me what I should do with myself and I distinctly heard Him say “Live”.  And so that’s what I’ve been doing – going on with life.

In the months before Michael passed away, both my parents also passed away.  As my siblings and I settled their estates I acquired their house — a 3 bedroom, 1 bath ranch style house so typical of all the houses built in their 1957 neighborhood.  Michael and I had discussed on several occasions that, if the property were ever to become available, we would pursue building a new house to accommodate the final empty-nesting years of our lives.  And so this is what I’ve done.

Late last summer I proceeded to tear down the old home, the one that my mom brought me home to from the hospital, the one I spent the first twenty years of my life in.  The idea of tearing it down was one I had come to accept through the previous months as I worked with an architect to develop my ideas for a new home.  I will never forget watching with my brother as the heavy equipment was breaking down the walls.  “Is it kind of sad to you?” I asked.  “It wasn’t until you asked me!” he replied.

Through the last eight months the new house has gone from an idea in my head to a sketch on paper and now finally to a real place to live.  I think I’ve come to appreciate more than ever the work that Michael did as a contractor throughout his life.  The hours of planning, thousands of decisions and frustration of delays and unforeseen problems are only eclipsed by the excitement and satisfaction of living in the finished product.  And it couldn’t have happened without the encouragement and assistance from so many friends.  Friends who tirelessly sit with you through meetings to help navigate red tape.  Painter friends.  Electrician friends.  Decorator friends.  And friends who will drop everything to run over and turn off a blaring alarm system so you don’t have to race across town in the middle of the night.

So now begins a new chapter.  The same address that I was born at becomes my address once again.  The neighborhood I grew up in is my neighborhood once more.  There are neighbors here that still remember me as a child and a teenager.  The neighborhood children I once babysat have long moved away and are now parents themselves.  In fact the house on my left side is one of the original 1957 ranch houses, still occupied by the sweet family that watched me grow up.  While on the other side the lot is empty, the 1957 ranch house demolished in anticipation of a new one being built.

The past on one side, the future on the other.

   And here I am, a part of both.