Not just their house, but their home of 45+ years. The structure in which they raised their kids and housed their grandkids. A place housing many, many memories, like the flagpole my dad shot a bb gun pellet into unbeknownst to his dad and has felt guilty about ever since; the stone patio out back that my parents built;
the closet my dad told me he walked into as a kid, promising himself that he would never forget that moment; the stairs I used to hurry down in the morning--when I spent the night at Grandma's and Grandpa's house--excited to be the first one up, watching Grandma make blueberry pancakes; my grandmother's room where I would stand with my sister, getting our hair done up in barrettes for the ballet my grandparents would take us to; the site for many family gatherings and meals;
the ever mysterious basement where grandma would do her laundry and we would call down to her through the laundry shoots located on each floor; the floor of the grandkids room where grandma would read us bedtime stories while we propped ourselves up on floor cushions and looked around at the little toy soldiers sitting on their wooden train and Raggedy Anne and Raggedy Andy sitting neatly on their little rocking chairs, watching us;
the wall that my father told me he had once colored on and blamed it on his little brother who then go in trouble for it; the breakfast nook that Aunt Marcia has been fabled to have stormed out of every day as a teenager and stomped up the stairs before slamming her door, and where Uncle Jim would spill his milk every Sunday at supper and my grandfather would cry, "For crying out loud!!!"; the same breakfast nook that I would sit in as a child and bring my children to visit when I was grown and look out at the bird feeder as Grandma and Grandpa would exclaim over each different visiting fowl;
the yard out back where I made many a penny by helping Grandpa with yard work; the flower beds Grandma always meticulously maintained and where flowers were always to be found; the garage where Grandpa parked his car that was always being used for some traveling job or another and smelled of cigars that he would smoke when Grandmother wasn't around; my grandfather's den with the built in bookshelves that my grandfather built; the den where he could always be found watching some sport or another and in which he housed everything he was proud of like the deer head of a deer my mother took down and the little toy Jeep my brother Ross gave him; the den where Grandma kept the coloring books and crayons in the metal Crayola box on the bottom shelf of the bookshelf; the den where my sisters and I watched Romeo and Juliet, the ballet, over and over again;
the pond and park at the end of the block where Grandma would take her walks while we played on the playground; the same pond my father fished in as a kid and threw a live practice grenade into as an unruly teenager.
All of these memories and many, many more have been cherished in and around the old white house that my grandparents purchased all those years ago. So when they told me that the end was near, I burst into tears. And then I bought a plane ticket to Kansas to see them.
Goodbye, little white house with the black shutters, with the way you smell and feel--the memories you housed. You have always been my ideal home--a safe haven of love and peace, a constant unchanging in my life of transient journey. Its not so much the house I'm saying farewell to, but more so a farewell to the end of an excruciatingly precious era. And time keeps marching on.
Dave's playing instrumental music while I write this... I think I might go cry. The end of an era. Farewell to the house, farewell to the holder of memories.