Three and a half years ago, my husband spent our last night in the house that we’d built and lived in together for over thirty years. The decision to rebuild, and move didn’t come lightly or easily, but it seemed like the best answer for us.
We didn’t move far–just a few feet across the yard actually. We renovated, then added on to an existing structure formerly used as our game house. When the new house was finished, we simply moved our belongings across the yard.
We had no plans for our old house. It was in need of much repair–the reason we decided to move in the first place. We decided to just let our old house sit there, with plans to perhaps tear it down at a later date. When our daughter heard of this plan, she wasn’t happy!
Our old house sat empty and dark for about three months, before our daughter and her family moved into it. They began renovations almost immediately. A little paint here, replacing the entire floor there…followed by a new roof. This spring they are in the process of repairing and painting the outside of the house, and the house is really looking great!
As our daughter and her family proceed with their renovations, they are making their own memories, in the house, as a family. As one era ended, another has begun, and this started me to thinking…If the walls of that old house could talk, what tales they could tell!
Those walls could tell the tale of a young married couple, very much in love, who built much of the house themselves, one section at a time. She drew up the plans, while he did most of the actual building. It would also tell how family members and friends came to help the couple work on their house over the years. The walls could tell how the house has always been “a work in progress”. How even after nearly thirty-five years, some things in the house remain unfinished…
Or the walls might tell a tale of the same married couple bringing home their little first-born child to the house. How that first-born child, a daughter, developed colic and cried for three solid months, while her mother felt totally helpless and frustrated! The walls could also tell how the birth of that daughter turned a couple into a family.
Perhaps the walls would tell the tale of how the pregnant, mother of one, sat in a rocking chair in the nursery one day, and prayed while a tornado ripped through the backyard–but in the end, left the house untouched. Or how lightning struck the house twice in the midst of thunderstorms!
Those walls could also tell of the arrival of two more children, both sons. They could also tell many tales involving two precious little boys, who grew into mischievous teenagers, in spite of their mother’s best disciplining efforts!
The walls could tell of a hole in the living room floor, put there by the careless teenaged friend of a son, who was handling the father’s gun without permission, and how both parent’s blood ran cold when they heard the sound of the gunshot from the front porch swing! The walls could also tell of the relief those parents felt when they discovered nobody was hurt!
The walls could tell of the house full of teenagers the parents discovered in their home when they returned home a day early from a solo camping trip! Remarkably, not one member of their own family was among all of those teenagers! The walls could also tell how the entire house cleared out within ninety seconds of the parents’ arrival…and how upset those parents were with their oldest son!
The walls could boast of many birthday celebrations which were held around the dining room table in that old house. The walls have echoed the sounds of the birthday song being sung many, many times–to both young and old.
Many times the pitter-patter of six little feet echoed on the floor early Christmas morning, as little ones ran to see what gifts Santa had left. The floors have been strewn many times, with mountains of wrapping paper, in the aftermath of Christmas family get-togethers.
Unfortunately, the walls could even tell of some unhappy occasions experienced in that old house–including the loss of three out of four parents, as the circle of life goes on.
I’m glad we didn’t tear down our old house. I’m thankful that our daughter felt sentimental about the house, and that she and her husband have a vision and a plan for it. I take great pride in watching my daughter and her husband treat the old house with the loving care and respect that it deserves.
I’m happy that the walls of the old house are still standing…and watching another young family making their own memories. In the meantime, the walls of our new house are gathering memories of their own. They are memories of an older couple, in the autumn of their lives…Their conversation centers around body aches, retirement plans, and hoping to make it to the next birthday. The pitter-patter of little feet belongs to their grandchildren… If only the walls could talk!
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