Monday, August 14, 2006

The Story of a House

My grandparents bought this house fifty years ago. Some years later, I was brought to this house as a newborn infant from the hospital. I lived here when my dad was sent to Vietnam and my mom wanted to be close to family. I lived here with my grandmother when I was 20 years old and the mother of a toddler. My son learned to walk in this house. And so did I, as the many 8mm films my grandfather took of me on the front sidewalk will attest to.

I have an abundance of happy memories of this house from when I was young. It seemed much larger than it does now. I can picture my grandmother in her Sunday dress covered by an apron, making file gumbo in the kitchen that seems so tiny now. She somehow found room to feed the whole family. There was always plenty to go around.

When my grandmother could no longer care for the house and yard in 1999, I bought it myself. For the next six years, the people who inhabited this house did not treat it with the love and respect it deserved. It was finally vacated on March 17, 2005. I will not dwell here on how sad the house was the first time I saw it again on that day, but it was the worst the house has ever been.

For the past year and five months, my husband and I have been working to restore this special house. It has dominated our lives and our pocketbooks, but it has been a labor of love. We painted, plumbed, electrified, and scrubbed. We did much more than I can say here. And we learned even more. My relationship with my husband has grown stronger. I have immense respect for him. I have never seen anyone work harder than he has on this house because it was what I wanted. He has never lived here, but a piece of him will stay with this house forever and that is a good thing.

The house now has a new resident. The lease was signed last night. Although I've known the new resident for only a short time, I feel good about leaving the responsibility for this special house in his hands. I know from his profession and circumstances that he is an honorable person and will bring good energy into the house once again.

And now maybe I will have time to knit!

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