I still remember when I saw you for the first time. Roger was 31. I was 28 yr. old. I had a 1 yr. old and a 4 yr. old. We were so proud of you!
In those days, working full time and attending classes at night to get my teaching degree, I had my hands full. You were there when I got my first teaching job. Remember that first morning when everyone came out on the porch and waved goodbye as I drove out of the driveway?
Remember how excited we were when we got that first color tv? Our first air conditioner? Remember how we all hung out in the family room where the window unit kept us cool? Remember how we painted and wallpapered over the years? And then pulled down wallpaper to re-paint later? Hanging curtains? Removing curtains? As I walk through your rooms now I hear the echoes of children playing, laughing, singing along with the radio and the record player. I remember when Betsey and Chris both wanted a copy of "Grease," and we made them share the same album? Remember those long nights of homework at the kitchen table? And the long nights of grading papers and lesson planning after the kids were in bed?
Remember the celebrations? Birthdays, holidays, first communions, family dinners? Remember the parade of friends that filled the rooms? Getting up in the morning to find teenage boys sleeping all over the floor? Girlfriends at sleepovers giggling late into the night? Tents in the backyard? What about those baseball games and swim meets we went to? Lots of conversations about those!
Remember when we decided it was time to update your looks? Pulled down that 70's paneling and replaced it with sheetrock? Crown molding was added and floors were refinished? Wow, how about that new shower with the Venetian marble and the glass doors? That was some fancy stuff!
Remember those sweet pets, so many of them. Fluffy, Brownie, Speckles, Lucie, Mike, Lilly, Gracie, Kitty Boy, and now Jack. Some of them still lie beneath the grass in the yard. Remember how some of them were not allowed in the house? Yet every time we got a roll of film developed, we saw photos of Betsey with the pups on the sofa? On the garage wall, Roger wrote their names and hung their collars. This brought me to tears when I saw it last week after the garage was cleaned out and ready for the new people to arrive.
Oh, and now the grandchildren? So it starts all over again! Little feet stomping through the house. Giggles. Noisy tv shows.... Toys littering the floor.... Only now we mark the door frame with their growth measuring each and every inch of joy we feel for having them in our lives.
Remember when Roger planted this tree? Wow, that was a long time ago! He pulled it up from the woods. Just a little thing. Look at it now. And the fairy fort? It started as a herb garden and took off on a path of its own.
The grape vines are full this year. I guess cutting them back was a good move. And the gardenias that we thought had been taken by winter, are coming back. They were all rooted by my mother from her very own bushes. I hate to leave them. But I am sure they will provide beautiful blooms once again next year, bring pleasure to someone else.
It's been a long time, 42 years. You have provided us with shelter through snow storms and hurricanes, steaming hot weather, and freezing cold weather. And now as we leave you, we thank you. We thank you for taking good care of our family. We hope you are in good hands....as you will always be a part of us and have a place in our hearts.
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