Our house belongs to someone else today. We sold her and are moving on to a smaller one up the road. Downsizing. Yep, we finally reached the age where a four bedroom house is just too big for two people. Purging reluctantly. Some of the stuff is easy to get rid of, others are just treasures you can’t bear to let go. The yard sale was over a few weeks ago, we sold what we thought had some kind of value. The trash man has seen piles of trash in front of our house for weeks. Goodwill made out well too. How do we accumulate so many clothes that just don’t fit anymore? I swear the closet is a shrinking machine.
I moved here when I got married in 1998. I left my townhouse, in State College, and moved into this large house in Philipsburg. A massive house, bigger than any I have lived in before. My Mother was born and raised no more than a mile from here. My parents met here and my grandparents also lived here. I got married in a church where my great grandfather once preached. So, as you see, this was very much a coming home experience for me. I grew up in State College and I am forever grateful for that. I call State College home, but moving here was something I felt deep in my bones. I felt the same way when I traveled to Scotland. I had never been there before, but I felt something unworldly familiar. You feel it. I felt it here also.
This house became a project from day one. I had many long tussels with her. It began with the longest one of all, right out of the gate. I gave her a facelift. A paint job that took a year to complete. I changed how she looked and while I was at it I decided to fix every little problem I found and ,for a 100 year old lady, she had many. In the end she was beautiful and proud once again. I wasn’t sure that project would ever end, but it did. I had other struggles with her too. She cut me and bruised me, but never let me down. Like the two garage doors that mysteriously came down as I was pulling out and consequently removed from their moorings. I swear the house did it, but in reality it was probably the distracted driver. I surgically removed her guts more than once, but the major one was the new kitchen. Man, did she need that. A modern kitchen in a 100 year old house is nothing but a thing of beauty. So, she was “refreshed”. It was good for her and good for us. We helped her and she protected us.
Emotionally this house has seen our lives. We have celebrated weddings, morned deaths, and watched history relentlessly roll by. I watched my Grand children take their first steps in this room. I held most of them here when they were newborns. I watched my daughter grow from a child to a beautiful woman here. I watched the second plane crash into the towers, live, from right there in front of that TV. I was standing near the back door when my brother called me to tell me my Mother passed away. The celebrations, the dinners, the Holidays, the memories of our lives and family went through these doors. My wife has been such a gracious host in all the events we have ever had here. She is the one I think should be writing this. She is the one that purchased this house before she even knew my name. We are leaving together and this was her house. I was the new comer and have lived here for the last 14+ years. I was the one that kept the house functioning, fixing the aches and pains, keeping her together. My wife decorated her and designed the inside and made it a welcoming place. We worked as a team and did well by her. We worked on her right up to today, making sure she was ready for the new owner. We know what she’s made of and we know she will be good to the next family that resides here.
This is the place where I fell in love with my wife. This is where I discovered I had a artistic side to me. This is where I discovered my voice and discovered I had something to say. This is where I wrote my book. This place was magical in so many ways. This is the last blog I write from this house and the last thing I send from these walls. It seems so final, but it’s just a passing. I know there is more to come, but I am aware of the gravity of this move. I will drive past this house every day and know she is something special.
So, as I walk out the door with my head bowed in humble gratitude, I will smile. For we have danced the dance and we have both won. The house is in better condition because of me, and I am in better condition because of her. You see, this was not just a house, it was HOME.