Leaving home--and finding a new one
We have just left home and moved to another house, but not another home.
It takes more than four walls and a roof to make a house a home.
We lived in the home we just left (five days ago) for 24 years, 10 months, 4 days and 18 hours. The movers completed hauling the furniture at 6 p.m. and the clock on the wall of that home stopped running at 6:30. It's little battery died of a broken heart. But we're not leaving the clock behind. We've brought it along (haven't found it yet) and will give it a new battery and start all over.
Without getting sentimental about it, we're going to miss that home. Why? We built it ourselves. Eartha designed the floor plan and it was a good one. It felt warm, comfortable, familiar, happy and ours. It wasn't a place, it was a feeling. Our hearts were there. It was a comfort food feeling, an old wool sweater feeling. In short, it was a gathering place for family and friends — a place of love.
When the sun came up in the morning and beamed through our southeastern windows, the shadows on the wall showed all sorts of strange forms, including the spokes of our stairway. I miss those shadows.
We moved about 10 blocks to this house after we wore out our other one raising our three children from first grade through college, and through courtship and one of three marriages. That was really a tough home to leave — for us and for the home − which actually spoke to me as we were leaving.
That conversation was fully reported in The Day The World Ran Out Of Denim. When we moved, we brought all the children's pictures along and started a new collection of wedding pictures and grandchildren pictures. The grandchildren loved the place. They found secret hiding places, places for dolls, places for construction sets, places to read and places for TV. But none of them knew we might move and when we suddenly announced we were going, our 13-year-old sniffled sadly, "they could have given us some warning." So, we'll bring their pictures along with the dead-battery clock and start over again.
But happiness doesn't have just one address. Our new place is much smaller. I reported to you a few weeks ago that we were downsizing. We had a painful garage sale and then threw away or gave away all remaining unnecessary items. Then we had movers haul our furniture to our next stop. Now we're in our new location just four miles away and we have dishes, pictures, boxes, piles of stacks of books all over the place. The two-car garage is full and it has no room for cars. After our first night here, the question was "where's the toaster?"
We moved in at the height of our autumnal splendor — peak colors and good weather. Our new neighbors seem friendly and welcoming. Our experience isn't unique or even unusual. People are downsizing and moving all the time. Many right now. We're all sympathetic with one another. At this point we're optimistic that this new (actually 19 years old) house will be a true home before long.
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