Wednesday, March 08, 2006

A Place Called Home

We have been looking at houses. Everyday a couple of them pop up on my screen that are in our price range and have enough bedrooms. They boast of gas log fireplaces and tile in wet areas and convenient subdivisions But mostly, they leave me cold. They have as much real beauty and craftsmanship as the items in Walmart's Razorback souvenier aisle.

"Wouldn't you like to live in a nice new house?" people ask me.
The answer is a blunt, "NO."

I didn't grow up in an old house. My parents built it when I was five and I distinctly remember the clean, good smell of new lumber and how afraid I was of the deep hole that began for the basement. It's a pleasant house, and with Mom's creativity inside and Dad's sweat outside, they've made a lovely home over the course of nearly 30 years.

My parents bought me a rosebush when I graduated from college. I loved it. At the time we lived on Staten Island and I had toiled as much in bringing beauty to that parsonage as Robb had bringing truth to the congregation. Long ago, Dr. Greer (of Cornerstone University) had grown up in that house. His father, an old Scotsman, was an avid gardener and filled the space with growing things. All that remained 25 years later were some blooming trees and a huge honesuckle bush. My rosebush was so happy. It bloomed the first year.

And then we moved and I greedily tried to take it with me. It died, of course.

It must be the Irish in me...which isn't very much as far as I know. But movies like "Far and Away" and "Gone With the Wind" and the book "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" resonate deeply with me. I desperately want a piece of land to own and manage and be a part of. When you move a lot like we have, you have to pull up roots and start over. I hate to be transplanted.

Living in an old house in a tangible connection with something that has been there long before you. It reflects the work of people that were there, living their lives, dreaming their dreams, raising their families, doing their jobs, long before I ever came to this place. It's a way of being grafted into something that has roots already. Not to mention the fact that they really don't make houses the way they used to.

On Sunday, we were driving around, checking out house-listings I had collected. We drove by a place I had noticed before which was obviously vacant and had signs out front. When we followed the drive to the back, we saw that the doors were off the place. We called the realtor on the sign (okay, we went inside first, if you must know) and he said, "Well, the house is worthless. You can have it to move it. I'm just selling the land and it is $200,000.00."

The house is NOT worthless. It is a charming cape cod, with red shingles. Hardwood floors throughout and the original 6 over 6 windows, which are like huge baby eyes looking out from the house's face. The kitchen has those old white cupboards that I have had in two other houses before. The counters are red...cherry red. A massive living room has been added to the front, making a huge gathering place with a warm fireplace. It sits squarely. The ridgepole is straight as a rod with no sagging. It has three bedrooms, a two car garage, two bathrooms, an eat in kitchen, and tongue and groove real-wood panelling that has been painted white.

All three houses on this property where we stay right now have been moved onto it. It could be done.

So I was up last night thinking about it in the middle of the night. I tend to love things that other people didn't want. Houses, A certain little girl we all adore, ebay junque. The fact that that house will just be demolished and I could have it for free... if I could move it... is killing me.

Those of you who understand my feelings of wanting to be connected to the past know what I am talking about. Those of you who don't, well, you don't. I doubt I can make you understand. I hardly understand this personality quirk myself. All I know is, I don't want to pay a mortgage every month for a house I don't even like if I can possibly find one that I do. I've never been picky about what I eat, what I wear, furniture, what area of the country we live in...but darn it, this matters a lot to me.


kingsjoy said...

M & I totally understand what you're saying. That will be so great if you can find a way to save that house! We're looking at a house which is about 25 years old, a Brady Bunch house. Probably not what you have in mind, but we kinda like that era. And, boy, does it have personality. We should know tonight if it's ours.

ness said...

Love the Brady Bunch! I hope you get it!

Courtney said...

I feel you, Sis. (btw, you were 4 when we moved into the house cause I was one)
Ron thinks I should bring a jar of dirt from Guys Mills with us so everytime we move, I won't freak out. Half the reason I want him to get into Vandy is so we won't have to leave TN, which I've come to love....and can drive in. I swear, everytime the tulips come up in MomandDad's yard, I feel it. You're not crazy, you're Irish (is that a bumper sticker yet?)
The house sounds really charming, and if I know you, you'll find a way to bring it back to life. There's something LM Montgomery about it....Emily, maybe?

Darla said...

"I tend to love things that other people didn't want. Houses, A certain little girl we all adore, ebay junque" - so beautiful - i think this is a wonderful trait to have.... i wish more people loved the things that other people didn't "want". this is such a lovely post - i'm praying you'll find a way to move the mountain! :)

A said...

Jaye T. moved 17 times in 12 years growing up. She feels no attachment to the dwelling as a result. However, the FURNITURE is another matter. She's got strange attachments to it, understandably so, I guess, since it was the only constant during that time. Funny what we all cling to.

klasieprof said...

WOUldn't THAT be so like my have us praying for month for you to find a home you can afford..and then..HE Finds one for you FOR FREE.

Jaye T. said...

Okay, just so ya'll know that I moved 13 times in 15 years and then I've moved another 5 times in the last 8 years. I wouldn’t doubt if I moved more in years to come. Moving doesn’t bother me; I go stir crazy if I stay in one place too long. Yes, I can't let go of furniture. The furniture is my past with tons of memories attached to them. I have my dad's parents old dinning room set that my grandpa bought in the 40's or 50's. When I got the dinning set it still had plastic on the chairs!!! They where afraid us grandkids would get them dirty!!! I even kept the old fabric off of the chairs when I recovered them a few years back. Beautiful fabric, but too "gold" for me. :):)

Ness, I totally understand being attached to “things”, whatever it may be. :)

ness said...

Sadly, for my husband, I also have the furniture attachment : )

Now, you guys, you were supposed to write and say that this isn't possible and I should focus on living like regular people so I can fit in better in the culture. Now I'm just going to call the realtor about those 3 acres 9 miles down highway from this house. It's only $39,000.

Wouldn't that be something?

Elizabeth said...


this isn't possible and you should focus on living like regular people so you can fit in better in the culture.

i found out about this teeeny tiny house...(probably one kitchen, bedroom, and bath)...for 3 grand and i was like--that's perfect!!! (Unfortunately...i didn't even have 3 grand :)

i love old junk, too. in fact, i really rarely like new things. i think that we are attached to our furniture, etc. because it is like a picture of who we are...our personalities are so reflected in our stuff :)

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