Few people know me as well as my house does.
It has offered me comfort from the outside, kept me safe from storms and has heard the unspeakable. My conversations, arguments, tears, laughter, triumphs and remorse have been laid bare within the walls of my home. It is my private place, my family place, my happy and sad place.
When it came time to leave my home, I was filled with anticipation of my new life. When the boxes were packed, the fixtures removed and the furniture loaded, it hit me. This place that has sheltered me from so much no longer belonged to me. It felt as though I had betrayed a friend.
My heart felt a genuine affection for the walls that encased me. I stood there alone in the middle of the room explaining why I had to leave, where I was going and thanked the house for keeping me safe and for holding my secrets. Crazy? Objects, places and things gain our affection as years go by. Hard to know how or when it happens, but it happens. And, I believe, we are the better for it.
I have seen a grown man cry upon selling his dad’s old car, an 88 year old woman who asked to be buried with her childhood doll, a young woman who still has her childhood teddy bear that has long lost its stuffing and a family that removed a piece of wood from their sold home that showed the heights of their children.
Memories are somehow tied to these things and they offer comfort; a reminder of times gone but not yet faded from our mind or erased from our hearts.
When we cling to something it’s usually out of fear or love. Perhaps we cling because we fear losing the memory or the love of the moment. We don’t.
Memories are made of such things as Christmas mornings, a graduation celebration, a sweet sixteen party, a new puppy, old friends, a first tooth, the birth of a child. They are also made of divorce, arguments, pain, fear, helplessness and death. Our home takes all that we give and wraps it around us in a warm blanket of truth, forgiveness and understanding. I respect that.
And so, I scurried and cleaned, mopped and vacuumed. I picked up the remnants that didn’t make the “take” list and I painstakingly washed fingerprints off the back door. I would leave this friend in a respectable state. It was the least I could do.
Whatever it is that you hold dear, I hope you respect the comfort it offers you. It has a rightful place in your life. We all have something. At least I hope so. Life without treasures seems a little fruitless.
These days my office is neatly strewn with many of my comforting memories; old Archie comics, an old pair of roller skates complete with a skate key, a tin Tom Thumb cash register, Gumby and Pokey figurines, a Radio Flyer red wagon and some old metal lunch boxes that were all the rage.
I was all the rage once and in my own little world, I still am.
Joan Cooper - In the end – memories are all we have.
If I could only do it again – I would never have sold my home of over 20 years. “Things” I could no longer keep were given away or sold. If I knew where they were – I would buy them back. They were part of my life.
Sad – this California lifestyle offers no real storage – n0 attics or basements. How cold and indifferent the architecture is. No room for memories.
When I go, I hope someone enjoys the things I leave behind – but – only AFTER I go.
laura thomas - You described quite well how I felt leaving my childhood home. I’ve moved many times and have never again felt that tug at my heart!
Jennifer Eubanks - Oh how I remember so vividly you being torn at having to leave your old friend….
It’s always a blessing to read your take on life, and sometimes get a new outlook myself.
Tammy - Hi Jenn, yes, those were the days of progress, change and many a goodbye. And here I stand holding more in my basket of life and happy for it. Yet … I value what I had and there are days that I miss it still. And you. Thanks for posting and for being here.
Tammy - Hi Laura, isn’t it just simply pure how much we hold the memories of our homes so dear? And most people don’t realize it until they have to leave. For some it’s not a home; perhaps an insignificant piece of jewelry, an old cigar box, a childhood toy or a love letter. In my age I’ve learned the value of such things, and it’s never monetary. Priceless. It’s wonderful having you here … thanks for posting!
Tammy - Hi Joan, I love my memories and I hold them very, very dear. I treasure my mementos and take very good care of them. They are few but they offer a feeling of comfortable nostalgia, a memory of a simpler time when I had all my years ahead of me. When I was 9 my most treasured possession was my skate key. When I was in my twenties it was my home and furnishing. In my thirties it was my daughter. And now, it is what it always should have been; myself. Quite the journey! Thanks for being here, Joan, you’re pretty awesome.
Kellie - Tammy
I know what you are feeling. Several years ago my parents sold the Orange County childhood house I grew up in when they moved to the desert area. It took me over 1 year to be able to drive past the house when I was in town. The house was even sold to a friend of the family and not to some random stranger. This house was where I went for comfort and to feel safe when times got hard. I still never go by the house when in the O.C.
Scott Morgan - As usual, I agree with whatever you’re saying. When we sold off my parents’ house, after they’d been there for 40 years, I felt an odd urge to tell the house “I love you.” Still not used to the fact that other people are in the place now, and I can’t just time i please.
Stephen C. Spencer (@PaulDMallory) - No special insight to share this time; not even a pseudo-clever remark.
I suspect if those walls of yours could see as well as talk, they would agree with me that this is a good a piece of writing as I’ve seen in a very long time. And then they’d beg you not to leave!
Good for you, Tammy. Nice going!
Tammy - Hi Scott, that is the sweetest story; you wanted to tell the house you loved it? It was probably because you loved feeling safe all those years and you appreciated sharing your life moments in its walls. Isn’t it remarkable how so much of our living, our crying, our laughing and our hurting goes on in the confines of our home? My house is a kind of ‘secret holder’, holding all of them tight – and me with it. So glad to know I’m not alone. Thanks, Scott, for sharing and for being on the other side of my posts.
Tammy - Hi Stephen, what, no pseudo-clever remark? I think you are holding back. Thanks for the complimentary feedback. It’s easy writing what you feel. You never know when you put something out there like this if your readers will think you have lost your mind. Which, by the way, I do, on a regular basis! Thanks so much for being here and for contributing. It means tons!
Tammy - Hi Kellie, isn’t it funny how attached we get to an old house? I think it has more to do with our growing up and all the emotions, dramas and highs that come with it. Of course, speaking for myself, I am still in the process of growing up; probably always will be. Always appreciate your input and point of view. I’m grateful to have you here!
Kesha Brown - Yes, you still are the rage I’m sure Tammy! The new house better watch out! 🙂
And I love this statement: “Life without treasures seems a little fruitless.” YES, totally agree 🙂
Tammy - Hi Kesha, only in my own mind, and that’s all right with me. Thanks for being here, always, always great to hear from you!