Sunday, June 3, 2012

Our house, in the middle of our street...

Back in the 60s, my folks bought a house about a mile outside a small town.  We were surrounded by farms and fields, there were trees to climb and country roads to be explored.  We built friendships, made memories, added scars and wrinkles.  Homes were open and places to be back then.  It was our base for our adventures, our supply depot, our resting place.
Our house it has a crowd
There's always something happening
And it's usually quite loud
Our mum she's so house-proud
Nothing ever slows her down
And a mess is not allowed
Our house, in the middle of our street
~Lyrics from "Our House" by Madness
Maybe it was the lack of central air conditioning, but the doors and windows were open, we came and went, people and neighbors stopped by and were in and out.  There was one telephone and it was fixed to the wall in the kitchen... which I'm not sure in this day and age of cell phones and texting... still isn't such a bad idea.

There was a brick fireplace in the family room where countless family pictures, gatherings, and marshmallow roastings took place.  It kept us warm when we truly learned the need for prepping while the power was out for two weeks during the Blizzard of '78.  It also served as the background for many family photographs, even the first Christmas for my main gal and I about a quarter of a century ago.

My mom still answers the first phone number I ever learned forty-some years ago.  Old photographs hang on the walls... joined by new photos of my daughter, the steps upstairs still creak in the same order, and some of my baseball caps and farm hats are still hanging with work clothes in the basement.  My first dog, Smokey, a black and white mutt from the humane society lived with us for sixteen years in that house. But things have changed.

Over the years those farm fields sprouted houses.  That little town of 2,800 friends and neighbors we lived near swallowed our farms and country living... swelling to almost 35,000 people and strangers.  The lane and a half gravel road leading out our way, where cars and pick-ups had to have two right tires off the side of the road to pass, is now a busy three-lane boulevard.  You can't walk up the road or across the field to shoot anything anymore... no more fence rows to walk and hunt.  It's not the same as when I grew up, but it's still my home in many ways.

It's not been a year since "Pa" passed, and Mom had talked about selling the house and moving down our way to be near family.  Well, mom called last night. A neighbor in the real estate business called her about a family interested in buying her house even though it wasn't listed.  A little back and forth... a price was agreed to... and it's a done deal.  We'll be moving mom down our way in the next few weeks.

I knew it was going to happen eventually, but it still kind of feels like the last chapter of a good book has been written, the cover closed, and it's being put on a shelf to collect dust in the back of my mind.  Unlike my grandfather's farm house where my aunt now lives, this house will no longer be in the family.

What can I say... it was... Our house, in the middle of our street...


  1. I understand totally my Dad's deep seated need to stay in the house he raised us all in, after being widowed twice. We pay for someone to come in and clean and cook a few meals (Senior Services has a number of ladies that do that for a reasonable price) and someone else comes in and mows, edges and weeds. He's surrounded by big box marts and strip malls now, one directly behind the house, blocking what used to be a view of the mountains. He refused to sell when they offered to buy. The value of his home plummeted I'm sure but he only wished to stay. We understand. There's 53 years of memory in those four walls. When he is gone and it is as well, the memories, will simply remain in us.

  2. I am so glad she will be near...safest, really...but it is hard to let go history. Just be sure to grab whatever plants and fleurs she may have kept over the years. Those are lovely to have for generations to come...

  3. Faces and places. We keep them in our hearts and neither loss nor seperation can take them away.

  4. My husband went through this several years ago and it was hard for him, and for the rest of the family. Transitions can be so difficult.

  5. Thank you for the thoughts and words... I'm glad mom will be closer, but there is a certain finality about that chapter of our lives... of my life... with this move...

    I grew up in that area, was a police officer there, met and married my wife in there... watched as my father passed on there...

    Dann in Ohio

  6. My Grandma is pushing 80 and has lived in the same house since 1972. My dad has tried to get her to move, and I think we would all breather easier if she did on account of her going up and down those damned stairs every day, but she is a stubborn woman and the older I get the more I understand the sense of time and place that keeps her there. Especially since my Pop died three years ago. Most of her memories of him are linked to that house. That's a hard thing to let go of...

  7. Oh wow. I remember when my dad sold the house I was born in. It was about a year after my brother my died. He just couldn't live there anymore. I understood, but it was strange.

    How neat that she will be closer!!!