A house. Just a place where we hang our coats. Or is it? One day I was looking at photos of yesteryear and started looking up where I lived with my grandparents for some years. I knew it had been razed and rebuilt some time ago.
I saw someone had built this ginormous house on it. It was completely changed. There was nothing I could identify about the property or the house or the garage or even where the garage had been. Nothing. Somewhere deep inside, I hated whoever did that.
When we are in a loving place, we usually want to stay there. I was no different. I wanted to live there when they died. Except for the Daddy Long Legs in the shower, I loved that place. The iris in the back yard, my grandfather’s succulent garden by the shed in back. The tree under which I would play after throwing a sheet over the branch, creating a little space/cave for me. I would play medicine woman, with all my little pill bottles with colored water; I would drink tea and just be.
FIRST HOUSE BUILT IN 1949
My grandfather built the house for my grandmother back in 1949. There was gorgeous tile work, whirly-gigs, those corner cabinets with shelves that spin. An oven up above 4 drawers underneath. No one had to bend to get something out of the oven. The fridge with the bottom freezer. Whoever had that back in the 60’s? My grandparents were both forerunners.
The kitchen was huge. Red counter tops. That must be where I get my colorful ideas from. 🙂 In the hallway were doors that you would have to push in order to open. It was like a pushable magnet thingie. Push twice, it opens, push once, it closes. Camellias outside the eat-in kitchen windows, [behind the curtain there] with windows that opened outwardly by cranking.
A huge laundry room, with utility sink next to it; that’s the washer you see in the background. The doorway there, behind the door on the left was the furnace room. Next to it was the pantry, aka ‘Hogan’s Alley’, named after some radio show or something. It was a walk-in pantry, that had built-in shelves I would climb [to get to the top shelf doanchaknow], even as a teenager. They were sturdy.
The living room was huge. Huge. With a huge picture window facing the street. A formal entry with wavy glass blocks, a special thing back then. The mail slot was in that area, on the wall, not thru the door. Yep, the mailman would come, house to house and push the mail thru the slot.
I can see it all in my mind’s eye. The green carpet in the living room, the red counters in the kitchen, the curtains, all of us eating at the round table in the kitchen that replaced the long table. The utility sink where my grandmother would wash my long, thick hair. The original Coke machine in the breezeway, the line on the pulley running between the house and the light pole for hanging laundry. I can see the beautiful iris in the back and the rose bushes, the apricot tree in the ‘back-back’, the area behind the fenced-in back yard.
In looking for the photos, I came upon a site called ‘rehold.com’. You can put in addresses and come up with names of who owned a house, the sale price, all that stuff. I saw that the first people that purchased the house, sold it to others. It was this 3rd set of owners that razed the house.
Somewhere deep inside me, some little girl part of me, hated them. It was my very first experience of someone completely removing a place of my personal use. Not a person, but my place-holder of memories.
THE SMITH NAME CONTINUES
Imagine my surprise to find their last name was Smith! We, too, were Smiths. There were photos of the house. WOW, was it ever changed! There was a phone number. I called it, nothing. So I looked up the business name of the person that owns it. I called that number and left a message. I thought he might find it odd that the original owners were Smiths.
Today, 1.8.21, he called me back. We talked about the house. I found out that those who bought the house from my Dad, ruined it. They gutted it, didn’t take care of the yard, it was overgrown and ugly. Even though the shell was there, the yard wasn’t. The innards weren’t. The house was in such sad shape, yet this man and his family bought the property.
They took a piece of ground that had a house built on it in love, for love and with love and restored it. Again this piece of land had a house on it that was built in love, for love and with love. Their sons grew up there, they had parties there, family gatherings there. Just like we did when we lived there.
I discovered land holds the promise, hearts hold the memories.
Knowing a new house with love was built there, healed that little girl inside me that was sad. THIS is the business of God. If we let him, He will take our hurts and heal them. He is faithful to love us and show us His love by healing our hurts.
Thank you E & K for taking the time to call back this stranger and tell me about the house and property. Because you took the time to call a stranger and share your life, I had a good healing cry when we hung up and there is a space inside me that no longer hurts.