My parents are getting ready to say goodbye to old 306. They’ve been there 29 years. It's a very long time.
A few weeks ago they were busy painting and scrubbing the twenty year old remnants of flung food and children’s fingerprints off the walls. My mom told me about it in her emails. It made her sad. It made me sad too, but less so, because I’m in Australia and Tonawanda is a long way away from here.
Then I saw this.
And my insides lurched a bit. It’s strange seeing the house you grew up in listed on a for sale site. Like seeing a member of your family in the newspaper. Something you know so well seems very out of place in the public eye.
Other people will look at those pictures and see a house. A nice house. Maybe even one they’d like to buy. What they won’t see is our home.
When they inspect the living room, they won’t know how many hundreds of hours have been put into that piano or how the neighbourhood kids used to troop in on snowy Halloween nights to warm up by the fire.
When they look in the bedrooms and mentally paint the walls, they won’t know that if they keep the walls yellow and the floor bare, the late afternoon sun will light up the back room with a warm glow as it comes in the window, making it the most cheerful room in the house.
When they enter into the front hall and perhaps comment on the elegance of the open stairwell, they won’t know that elegance is one thing – it’s also great for playing 52 pickup if someone stands in the upstairs hall and chucks a deck of cards over the railing.
When they look at the driveway and remark on the neat paving, they won’t know that it used to be cracked asphalt and that the week it was repaved, two little girls sat in the mud and made lopsided figures out of clay to give to their mom for Mother’s day.
And they won’t know about the dead hamster buried in a Christmas card box in the front garden, how many times vomit has been scrubbed out of the upstairs hall carpet or what the kitchen used to look like before the red-orange wallpaper, carpet and countertops were replaced, thank God, or the place would never sell.