Locking the Door for the Last, Last Time

Today I left our old house in Redford for the very last time.

Tomorrow (finally) we will finalize the sale of the home to a young couple with a two-year old son named Jackson. The circumstances of the sale were made in heaven (thank you St. Joseph, patron saint of homes).  During the final stages of the major clean-out process, our next door neighbor came knocking at the door.  “Are you getting ready to put the house up for sale?” he asked.

Yes, we answered, already filled with trepidation about dealing with realtors and regulations and mortgage companies.

“My son and daughter in law are really interested,” he replied. “If they like it, we could do the deal without involving the real estate.”

Wonder of wonders, they took one 15 minute look and they were sold. And so were we.

Easy as pie.

How blessed can you get?

So now we are about to relinquish the Rowan family homestead – the property my father in law purchased in 1948 and the brick home home he built in 1952. And today, I took one last walk through the empty house, and said my goodbyes.

To the living room where I walked the floor with a cranky baby, played my piano for hours on end, unwrapped Christmas presents for 36 years, and drank my morning coffee while I watched the sun come up.

To the bedroom where we slept night after night, where our son was conceived and where we lay, sleepless,  waiting for the sound of his car in the driveway when he was a teenager.

To Brian’s room, where he played and drew pictures and wrote stories and made recordings, where he littered the floor with stuffed animals and books and vinyl record albums and Hot Wheels cars.

To the kitchen – oh the kitchen, where I cooked countless pot roasts and casseroles, made innumerable pots of coffee (first in Corning Ware percolators, and then in those new fangled Mr. Coffee machines), washed hundreds of dishes, unloaded tons of groceries.

To the back porch, where I sat in the mornings listening to a symphony of birdsong and watching rabbits play across the grass, rushing to squeeze through their escape hatch under the fence as soon as Magic or Molly would take off after them.

And to the clotheslines, where each week I hung sheets to whip dry in the summer sun and brought them in warm and fresh to put on the bed. I miss the clotheslines a lot.

I even said goodbye to the basement (although I always hated the basement), and the laundry tub where I washed my hair and bathed my dogs.

I have to believe it’s a rare thing in this modern world for people to live in the same home their entire married lives – even rarer still when that’s the house where you were born.  I don’t think life in these United States lends itself to that kind of longevity or continuity. It’s expected that you will want more than the “old things” your parents had, that you will continually strive for bigger and better houses, and cars, and vacations. People move all over the country and even the world, traveling wherever their relationships and jobs might take them, looking for the next big thing.

Perhaps it’s part of our oddball nature, but we never felt any particular tug for a bigger or better home. Our little house suited us fine. And with every passing year and every increasing ache or pain, it became more and more difficult to imagine the rigors of moving two family lifetimes worth of stuff to another place.

But there are times in life when the need for change becomes palpable, when the yearning for something fresh and new insistently clamors for attention and can no longer be ignored. It took a long time for that to happen to us, but finally it did.

And here we are, saying goodbye to the house.

We’ve lived in our condo for almost a year now, long enough to feel like we belong, long enough to know we love it, long enough to feel confident we are in the right place. There were no tears today as I walked through the hallways, turned off the lights, and locked the door for the last time.

Just my spirit saying a quiet thank you  for sheltering me and the people I love.

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5 thoughts on “Locking the Door for the Last, Last Time

  1. A lovely, lovely piece. It brought back my experience of clearing out my mother’s apartment after her death, and turning the key for the last time. That was harder, but not impossibly so. Life goes on.

  2. Beautiful, Becca. A bittersweet and thoughtful piece filled with your big heart and your life of memories. I’m glad you’ve settled into your new home; I’m sure that helped make the transition easier. Still, it’s a lifetime of memories. A quiet thank you I know was absorbed into the walls of your house and that it will pass on love to the next owners.

  3. This was a lovely, thoughtful piece on growing and changing, and making room for something new to come in. I love how when you were finally ready to sell, the right owners were right there. That kind of coincidence is marvellous and always makes me feel that greater things do play a role in our lives (angels and such), than we sometimes understand. I hope the condo holds many happy memories in years to come for you and your husband.

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