We are moving. First a possibility, then a probability, now a fact. We are leaving this house which has sheltered us for over forty years to be closer to the bosom of our family, and that is an exciting consideration. We will learn to know the newest crop of great-grandchildren as we knew their parents, which distance prevents now.
After all these years we are unused to the process of selling a house. When the sign goes up in front of your house, complete strangers drive by and ask the price. Then realtors from all over town come to look at it while you spend your time away from home allowing them to look at your stuff without being able to let them know how much time, money and love you have put into making this house a home. Most of all, Charlie must be removed along with you because he doesn’t understand what’s going on, and let’s everyone know it.
The people who come to see what is inside can’t imagine the children who played here or the parade of dogs during all that time who have protected us from all intruders. The essence of joyous holidays and parties still permeate the walls, and the friends who have come and gone through the years have left their mark as well. There are still people who say they remember a special occasion party or two. The kitchen and that 45 year old stove were well worked over until even it had to be replaced a year or two ago.
I wonder who will find this house irresistible. Will they love it as we do, watching each tree blossom in the garden, and wait impatiently for each of the fruit trees to yield their bounty? Will they completely replant all the beds with another style? Will they love all the small hidden areas in the large garden? I caution myself to avoid this sort of thinking, because when we moved here so long ago, we changed everything about both house and garden.
It’s hard to remember just what it looked like then as we began to make our mark. Trees were removed and others replanted, lawn disappeared and brick replaced it, each brick lovingly placed by Dr. A. Tons of tomatoes and zucchini came and went through the years. A very large pool and fountain came where grandchildren learned to swim and paddle, and I cooled off on hot summer days. When an earthquake cracked it once too often it was removed and things were redesigned once more.
Will new children play in the small garden house built by our brother-in-law to resemble a house in Carmel? I will miss the hours spent painting the whimsical creatures inside; will they miss me? I will miss taking my morning coffee there while I contemplate a new painting, or having an afternoon tea with Dr. A talking over the day.
Will my painting studio miss me when someone else perhaps uses it as another bedroom? The hours and years I have spent in this crowded and cluttered environment were beyond special. The room was first used by us as a sewing room, with built-in Dutch beds for grandchildren with large toy boxes beneath them. At that time I painted in another room and when we found that grandchildren slept where they wanted to, I moved my stuff in and it became my exclusive domain.
When we built the large “family” room, we bought roller skates for the kids and used it as a skating rink before laying the hand made tiles. Our granddaughter, who visited from London the other day was too young to remember that, but she wandered around remembering all sorts of other things about this house. She quickly checked our her hand print in the cement of the storage shed, then claimed a small needlepoint hanging on the wall of the little house. You never know what children see and love. Our 42 year old grandson referred to our belongings as “our childhood memories.”
There are quite a few of those childhood memories of both Dr. A and me which will need to travel with us. They are the ragged remnants of our roots and our memory.
Times have reached the point when family goes around choosing what they might like to own someday when we are through with it. Moving into another home which is a little smaller means than some belongings will not make the cut. We are told to “take it all” and decide later, and I guess that is the simple way. Taking stock of what we own after seventy years is rather awesome, and unsurprisingly includes perhaps a thousand books, a great many of which are too well-loved to discard.
I am amused by friends who ask in incredulous voices “Do you WANT to move?” No move is made without great contemplation, weighing the pluses and the minuses. In our case the plus side greatly overweighs the minus. It is the process which is bewildering. We are so lucky to have the help of our two daughters who are managing our move long-distance. Both women are in real estate and both have sold their own homes and moved after years of living in one place. Our new home will await us when this house is claimed by its new owner.
It will be fun to write about our new house as we work to make it our home.