In April, for the first time in 30 years, our address will change. That’s right. We’ve sold our house, and, as I expected, I have mixed feelings about it. We’ve lived here for our lifetime, and it is hard to believe that we’ve come to the time – namely older – when moving on is the right option.
I remember the day Max rushed home mid-morning to tell me that he had heard a rumor: the Thompson house was to be sold. We had been house-hunting, although we had been perfectly happy and comfortable in John Lamy’s homey apartment on Dal-Whi-Mo for six years; however, space was becoming an issue, because we had graduated from two people to three – although the third one was, at that time, pretty small. I had wanted to live on Barrett because, as a small-town country girl, I loved the trees and the way the houses looked like nice homes where good things happened.
So we began the process of discovering, first, that the house was really for sale, and second, how we might try to buy it. Then, in November 1989, we signed the contract. Sylvia Thompson was ecstatic. We had all worked together on a couple of plays at Liberty Center, and she thought we would be good caretakers of the home where she grew up, and that made her feel better about leaving. I now know what she felt like at that moment.
We moved in on March 30, 1990, and began the process of transforming the Thompson house into our house – the home where we would raise our daughter.
For a while, I wondered what we had gotten ourselves into. We worked hard, spending cold days inside stripping wallpaper and warm days outside moving plants from one location to another – and that was on the weekends. I had opened my law office on Feb. 20, and I was in “Annie” the same week, so Max and I navigated the waters of being new homeowners and working parents. It was, shall we say, an interesting endeavor.
Finally, we got to a place where we could rest and just be. We had lots of help along the way – Rick Embry and Paul Chancellor painted for what seemed like forever. Betty Goodwin designed the landscaping – and the boxwood hedge – and guided us in bringing her plan to life. John Joy helped us bring down a huge tree that had died of heat stress, and John’s brother-in-law Dennis Sieving lent us his dump truck to take out the building materials when we took down the outdoor kitchen in the backyard.
Dennis Alkire, since deceased, brought the yard back to life, designed the pergola, replaced collapsed clay pipes, and helped us remodel the kitchen. The man could do anything, and we were lucky to have found him.
And throughout it all, we lived our daily lives and turned the house into a home we loved and where Emily grew up.
It will feel odd to live somewhere else, but I’ll enjoy not thinking about cleaning the basement every year (whether it needs it or not). Max will enjoy being able to leave for a few days without thinking about mowing the yard when he gets back.
Most poignant, though, we will realize that 30 years have passed since Max carried me across the threshold – a lifetime ago. We will miss the feeling of home. We will miss the comforting sounds and smells of a crackling fire in the dead of winter. We will miss the kitchen we designed – especially the gas cooktop and the two dishwashers. I will miss the idea of having huge Thanksgiving crowds and cooking dinner for lots of our friends. Most of all, I will miss living here. This has been a wonderful home for us, and I know that Meghan, Dan, and their children, the third family to live here, will love it as much as we have. That makes it easier to leave.
But not easy.
How grateful I am for being able to live and love in a home that opened its arms and welcomed us. I can’t think of a better way – or place – to have spent 30 years.