When you purchased your home, did you ever wonder about the people who lived in it before? I have. Yesterday I met the 3 adult children who grew up in the very house I love.
A couple of years after I bought my house, a man came to my back door and called out the name of the previous owners. I told him they didn’t live here anymore. Henry explained that he used to live here. (the second owners). His wife had waited in the car and I invited her in. She was overwhelmed with emotion as she went from room to room. We hugged as tears streamed down both our cheeks. They were in town for a family event and only intended to drive by but Henry couldn’t resist stopping. The memories of a happy home, filled with love, laughter and life.
A couple of years ago, one of their children also stopped in for a tour. His family waited in the car, not wanting to intrude. He quickly roamed the rooms and thanked me. We exchanged phone numbers.
Last month I received a phone call from Alan, he and his siblings would be in the area for a wedding, would I mind if he, his brother and sister came by. He remember how gracious I was to open my home to him. A date was arranged.
The flood of stories poured out of them, each recounting fond memories and sharing their lives with me. In the 40+ years that they were gone, not much had changed in the house. When I revamped my kitchen with new cabinets, I kept the original counters and the tiles. Some of the old metal cabinets are in my laundry area, as is the small wooden cabinet that their father built. As kids, the boys would stand on the dining room window sill and see Manhattan’s skyline. They recounted stories of the parties in the basement that their dad refinished. Were amazed that I still had the clip on towel rack hanging by the sink in the wet bar. Jay told me the 3 holes in the workbench were from a vice and that he still has it. Lonnie even noticed that I still have some of the original switch plates. She told me about sitting at their kitchen table when and how her husband proposed to her.
I learned that the porch originally had 3 small round columns on the corners. They were happy to see that we took down the filagree wrought iron posts because they never really liked them. My husband moved the huge mirror that covered the beautiful stain glass window in the dining room. They traced their hands over the beautiful chestnut woodwork and were amazed that all the windows except the kitchen and bathroom were original. The house was still pretty much the way they left it.
They talked about their old neighbors, playing stickball in the back yard, how the boys would dash out the side door, hop the fence into a neighbors yard. They loved that some of the hydrangea bushes still lined the back yard. Most of the details were still intact. I learned why one of the bricks in the walkway had to be replaced, Alan fell and actually broke the brick, he still has the scar on his forehead.
We spent two hours recounting their childhood. They came as strangers and left as family, bound by love that a home can hold.