Dear new owner of my longest home ever,
For the past couple of weeks, I’ve gone room by room, closet by closet, boxing up both the belongings I lay eyes on daily, and those with memories attached that I’d forgotten about, or hadn’t seen in more than a decade. One can’t help but reminisce while packing up a home where 22 years of memories have been made. I do hope you love this home as much as I still do. And I hope you make memories in it that keep you smiling for a lifetime, like mine certainly will.
I was newly divorced, and unsure how I’d survive as a single mom. I worked, and worked, and worked doing medical transcription from our little mobile home, waitressing midnights every Sunday, and saved, and saved, and saved until I finally had enough money to put down on this home. We were all so excited. In fact, Ian was the most excited about the bedroom furniture he thought was being left behind for us, but was really disappointed when he ran upstairs to an empty room. But we soon fixed it up and made it look like ours, and the boys loved their room. Once, Rory even put up a sign that said, “No girls allowed!” (I was like, you got that right son!) LOL I think I have a photo of that somewhere.
When we were moving in, several neighbors stopped by to introduce themselves and their kids. As it turned out, half the kids in our court would attend school with Rory and Ian. Some of them have remained lifelong friends to all of us. There was Cody who lived across the street. I have more fun memories of that kid than I can count, but my favorite was when he sent an 8 x 11 picture of himself to a girl in his class he had a crush on. Ian, who was often homesick, once tried to spend the night there. In the middle of the night, he came home and told me they just didn’t have good pillows. (Right). LOL But it’s sure nice when your kids want to be home.
There was the Kearns family next door, and something fun was always going on there. Jodie, our neighbor on the end, and I once pitched a tent in the front yard and all the neighborhood boys spent the night there. We had fun sitting on the porch the evening they “camped out,” laughing hysterically as we listened to them giggling and laughing at their own farts. Boys!
Miss Sheri the science teacher had every pet imaginable in her house – iguanas, rabbits, birds, cats, a dog, frogs, fish, and I can’t remember what else. When she came home from the pet store, the kids loved helping her carry her “groceries” in because they got to see her feed insects and worms, and other gross things to her animals. We nicknamed her “Elly May Clampet” for fun.
Whenever I couldn’t find my kids, I just called the L’Esperance home. If the boys were not over at Alex’s house – Alex was at our house.
And who can forget David? David and his sister Diana have lived here as long as we have. I remember them since they were really little, and now they are all grown up. David was a groomsman in Rory’s wedding, and now is a family friend to every member of the MacDonald’s. He’s family to us.
As for me, I have my faithful friends Cheri and “The Pope” across the street. That’s the name we gave Tom after he texted me at 6 a.m. after the Pope’s resignation stating, “There is no truth to the rumor that I will be elected the next Pope.” Cheri and I gave him the name anyways.
Life long friends. That’s the kind of friends we’ve made here. It doesn’t matter that I’m moving 12 miles away in a few week with a Home removal. I’m keeping my friends, and I’m keeping my memories.
But here’s a few things you should know about your new home…
There are shamrocks in every corner of the patio. They are upside down because the Italian guy who put them there didn’t wait for me to get home from work, and well… He was Italian, not Irish.
That rosebush in the front to the left of the porch blooms the most beautiful hot pink little roses all summer. My Dad and I planted that rosebush in 1999. He’s been gone for many years now, but the rosebush has always been a reminder of him teaching me how to plant and care for my yearly flowers. He was good at it. And there’s just something very therapeutic about getting down on your knees and digging in the dirt. I never do that, and not remember my Dad. I hope you enjoy the rosebush.
Speaking of my Dad, those extra shelves in each of the closets? Yeah, he put those in, and you’re going to enjoy them! Dad didn’t believe in wasting any space. He also put that peg board up downstairs to hang tools on. He was clever like that. I sure do miss him.
Down in the basement, there was a time when I had had someone build a raised wooden dance floor. I was competitively Irish dancing at the time, and I not only used it to practice, but would frequently have friends over for “sessions.” We’d play music, and we’d dance and have a good time. Anyone who had ever danced on that floor got to sign it. I broke my foot and tore my calf muscle taking the garbage out to the dumpster one day, and that pretty much ended my dancing days. About a year later, we ripped the dance floor out and Rory moved into the bedroom downstairs.
I think Rory and Ian will forever enjoy telling the story of how Rory put his fist through the wall down there one day. They tried to patch it, but did an incredibly lousy job. I was angry at the time, and I made him fix it, but we all three still laugh about it.
One of my favorite memories was when Ian secretly came home from college in Chicago, Rory picked him up from the train station, and they walked in the door and surprised me.
I sat in this very living room and watched the horrors of 9/11 take place, and then ran to school to get my kids home because I just wanted them with me that day. Michelle, next door, did the same thing. We drove together to school to get all our kids. I sat on the stairs going upstairs, and held my sons tightly as I broke the news that their Papa had gone to heaven. I stood in the window on many mornings watching the snow fall, so thankful that I had a skill I could work from home with.
There is an adorable little brown squirrel who often comes to my front door, stands up, and peaks in. So don’t just rush out the front door really quickly, or you might wind up with a visitor. FYI – he likes peanut butter. Sometimes, I put some on a toilet paper roll and stick it out on the front lawn. It’s fun to watch him eat it.
Football games and frisbee matches nearly wore out the grass over by the fence between us and Peach Tree Apartments, and we have certainly gotten our money’s worth out of that swimming pool. I sure do hope this virus lifts, and you get to enjoy the swimming pool some day! Both my sons were lifeguards there.
There’s been a lot of laughter, and many tears shared at my kitchen table, and Rory’s rehearsal dinner was right here in my home. I’m certain if these walls could talk, they’d tell you it’s been a good 22 years. I raised my sons, who I love sooo much, in this home!!!
Six of the past 22 years, I’ve been here alone as an empty nester, and have had the opportunity to share my spare room with a couple of great roomies – first Ryan, and then Nishelle. Two keepers!
This move is bittersweet. I no longer wonder how I’ll make it as a single Mom. I made it. By the grace of God, I made it.
Now, after a summer spent on the couch unable to walk after an extensive injury and surgery to my knee, I am looking forward to a much smaller, one-story home with a garage as I walk through this next season of life. I can’t wait to open the windows and let in some fresh air, get a new coat of paint on so the walls can start soaking up this new season’s memories, and have those I love around my kitchen table so we can discuss things that really matter, like the funny things our grandchildren say. (Today, Lyla said her day was “flusterating!” and Owen told me I couldn’t catch his nose by FaceTime because “Owen’s nose is at Owen’s house!”
Oh, I love this Brynford home, and I’m praying you will too!