I sat across the table from the son and daughter-in-law of our house’s previous owners. We were signing all of the closing paperwork on the house, and since the owner was not well enough to be in attendance, her children were there on her behalf.
As we talked about the history of the house, we learned the important facts–when it was purchased, what renovating work has been done, etc.–but we were also reminded of something else, something you always know about an old house but don’t think much about. This house has memories.
In describing a kitchen renovation, for instance, the daughter-in-law described to me where a breakfast nook used to be. At that small table with two chairs, she said, she learned to can tomatoes.
I stood in that part of the kitchen last week, and I could imagine the tomato juice everywhere. It must have been a mess. As I stood there, I didn’t notice the funky cabinets that have replaced the breakfast nook, the cabinets that perplexed us and drove us crazy when we first decided to put an offer on the house. All I could see was the breakfast nook which hasn’t been there for at least ten years.
I want this house’s memories to be my memories. And I think they will. Our town is small enough that when I describe to people where we’re moving, the standard response has been, “Oh, you’re buying Mrs. XX’s house? I’ve been in that house!” or, at the very least, “I know that house. So-and-so used to play in Mrs. XX’s yard as a kid” or “So-and-so lives just down the street.” Our house has memories, and our community has memories of our house.
I guess that’s what it means to live in community: remembering and remembering and remembering.
Stay tuned for more of our house’s memories over the coming months.