Tuesday, May 12, 2009

moving on

You may have noticed that a lot of my posts are concerned with moving, not the physical parts of it so much, though there is a bit of that, but the emotional aspects of it.  I have lived here for 35 years, more than half my life.  I became a grown-up in this house, raised my family, made my life and livelihood here.  It has been hard to leave it, leave my kids and grandkids.  I love this old house with it’s 10’ ceilings, wood floors, fretted windows and deep eaves, it’s tile counters and antique single sink in the kitchen, the claw foot tub in the bathroom, the little porch off the bedroom.  It was built out of first cut timber well over 100 years ago and it is solid, impossible to hammer a nail without first drilling a hole.  It’s a small house, 1250 sq ft or so but it has met our needs, sheltered us from storms, nature’s and life’s.  There’s a magnolia tree in the front yard that we planted.  Sugar cane grows on the side where I threw a small piece down and it sprouted.  The gardens have years and years of my sweat mixed into the dirt.

But the thing I love about this house is also the thing that plagues us.  It is old.  The plumbing is old, the electrical wiring is old, the kitchen and bathroom are old.  It’s drafty in the winter, heated by antique space heaters, window units for the summer that only cool the room you are in.  And I start projects that I never finish because I don’t have adequate time.  Three rooms have the woodwork partially refinished.  We had the house leveled several years ago (pier and beam) because we couldn’t close a few doors and all the sheet-rock cracked and I swear, one side of the house moved away from the other half by half an inch.  This was a totally unexpected consequence of the leveling and we have not repaired any of it because we are living here.  And it hasn’t been painted inside or out for 20 years.  This house needed better stewards than a couple of artists living hand to mouth most of the time.

Soon we will be out, completely moved. and our plan is to hang onto it as long as possible, letting the land accrue value.  We’ll make some repairs once we are not living here and rent it out, but the repairs will be cosmetic.  No money for the big ticket items.  The water will still drain slow, you still won’t be able to have too many electrical things on at the same time, the kitchen counters will still be too low for a dishwasher.  And, eventually, it will be sold and torn down and my heart will break.


  1. I feel your melancholy. I felt that way about my gardens when we moved here and we had only lived in that house for 12 years! I dug up some of my perennials and bought them with me. When I look at all the gardens through-out my park and realize that all these hostas came from the one plant I brought with me, I can remember my other home without feeling so sad. Myabe you can salvadge some sweet memory and take it with you.

  2. I've never lived anywhere longer than about 4 years. Even in our current home, I live away during the week and so although I've been there for 9 years, it feels like far less. I can't imagine being that attached to my home, but I suspect that's because I have to detach myself for my working circumstances. I envy you.

  3. Ellen this is a beautiful story. That house had perfect people, it was a haven to artists. I'm sorry for your sadness. I hope is eases for you faster than you notice.

  4. Oh-oh-oh. I know exactly how you feel. Our dear old house, built in 1927, has all of the same problems and we adore it so. We've been here for 21 years and I dread the day I would have to leave.

  5. Kathy, I plan to take many things with me but I hesitate to plant until we are there full time. I did plant a night blooming jasmine though.

    Madame, I've been in the process of pulling up my roots for about two years now so it is getting some easier.

    Thanks Verily. It's been a good house.

    Oh Willow, we commiserate.

  6. i understand what you feel friend, moving out is the saddest part, but then we have to accept that is is still the process of moving on. i wish you could overcome it soon and eventually accept it.


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