Once upon a house…

“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.
My home.


Published by timnichols

First and foremost, I’m a dad. After that, by day I am a professor of Education at Alfred University, by night I'm a dog lover, a cancer survivor, and a daydreamer. Here are some thoughts and lessons learned from my journey…

4 thoughts on “Once upon a house…

  1. Some really great times in that house. It’s so beautiful. I’m glad you were able to appreciate it while you had it. It was definitely a treasure not only for your family, but for those of us who got to visit in it. So filled with love and laughter. Best wishes for you in your new place.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a eloquent tribute to this huge part of your beautiful family home. Many happy memories- and hopefully lots more to come in the next chapter 💕💕

    Liked by 1 person

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