Sunday, June 22, 2008

House for sale

My house is for sale. Again.

I visited my hometown today, to help a friend and her dulcimer-playing husband celebrate the launch of his first CD. On the way back to the interstate, I cruised past the house where I grew up, and was dismayed to note a For Sale sign on the lawn.

This will be the second time the house has been resold in the 11 years since I inherited it and sold it after my mom and dad died. Nobody stays long.

As you can see from the picture, it's a compact little brick colonial, and at 1600 square feet, I guess it's not the McMansion of anyone's dreams. My parents built it in the postwar exodus to the suburbs for a whopping $16,000. That was big money at the time, I guess. I was in high school when they paid it off.

They lived there for 45 years. I don't think "moving up" ever crossed their minds. My dad had been a POW, and was happy to be alive. My grandparents lived there, too, and my grandfather, a handyman and carpenter, enclosed the screen porch, built bookcases of knotty-pine, and turned the room into a den. My mother painstakingly selected the delft tile which surrounded the fireplace.

Well, the realtor's website told the whole story. The bookcases in the den are gone. It's been turned into an exercise room. The living room has been painted in neutral colors. My mother's vibrant, blue tiles are gone. The fireplace looks like a gas fixture now. My tiny bedroom still has the white shutters at the window, but has become a computer room.

Nothing stays, does it? Soon my husband may have to contemplate the sale of his own family home, as his mother grows increasingly frail. I haven't much good advice for him. Except, perhaps ... maybe you don't want to drive by very often. Cherish the memories. We both love the poetry of Robert Frost, and this poem of his popped into my mind today, as I was driving home:

'Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay."


David G. said...

What if Hubby decides to keep The Family Home, what then?

Judith said...

Well, then ... he'll have to let me retire (yee hah!), so we can move there. It's about 5 hours away, in the middle of nowhere! Sign me up!

sharecropper said...

On Google Earth the other day, I tried to zoom in on my Mom's house (sold in 1994), but I couldn't tell if it was even there. Probably just as well.