“There’s a house whose rooms I know by heart,
where I hosted friends and celebrated holidays,
where dreams were dreamt and memories made,
where my children grew up and I grew old.
There’s a house where life was lived,
a house where I belong.”
I knew I’d love you from the start:
I walked in on a day in May in 1992, got as far as the staircase,
and said to the realtor: “I’ll take it.”
When I was growing up, my family always rented and moved frequently;
I wanted my children to have a permanent place to put down roots;
And to think I found it on Emerald Street.
Twenty-eight years ago our story together began,
and today, it comes to an end.
I love my new house in Alfred, but I know that for as long as I live,
I will carry with me the sadness of leaving you today.
You were the beautiful canvas on which I painted my life.
Memories of barking dogs, crying babies, playing children, laughing teenagers;
Olga and I planting a flowering crabapple on the day we moved in;
That very first meal, in a pile of boxes, with Bruce, Kathie, & Suzanne;
Toby, Tasha, Taylor, Tessie, & Tillie romping on the lawn;
Setting up the nursery and bringing three little bundles home from the hospital.
The birthdays: the yellow-brick road, Hogwarts castle, giant Candyland board;
Christmas decorating, cookie baking, carols around the piano, the annual parties;
Adding on the not-so-new-anymore family room;
The trampoline, playground, and pool: the best money I ever spent;
The bonfires and backyard campouts in the tent;
The dog and hamster burials we will leave behind;
Friday Night Pizza, cousins’ visits and sleepovers; and always: the Brennemans;
Adding a fourth child — from Switzerland;
The last time my dad visited, our last meal with Bruce;
The RA parties, cast parties, slumber parties: kids crowded into the family room;
And then in a blur of the school bus stopping at the end of the driveway
And the minivan pulling in and out of the garage, it was over.
Then I was home alone with Tillie, comforted by this beloved old place;
Every room, nook, & cranny alive with happy memories and ghosts of the past;
Across three decades we were rarely separated:
The longest was my seven weeks in Virginia for open-heart surgery;
I wasn’t sure if I would live to walk through your doors again;
I’ll never forget turning onto Emerald Street,
and discovering that my precious kids had decorated for Christmas, inside and out;
In 28 years, this house had never looked more beautiful to me than that day.
My mom has always said, “It takes a heap o’ livin’ to make a house a home.”
I wish I’d gotten to do all of the retirement projects I had in mind for you.
May your new owners love you as well as I did.
You served us well; I will carry you forever in my heart.