Dear Old House,
Well, the time has finally come. In a few short weeks, we will finally be closing on you. This is the last piece of business that we must do to wrap up my parents’ estate. In a way, I guess it is also the last little piece of them.
To the outside world, I know you look like just an old, rundown ranch-style home. But to me, you were so much more.
You were the place my parents lived for more than 50 years. Underneath your ugly popcorned ceilings and between your ’70s-style wood paneled walls, I grew up. I learned to crawl on your shag-carpeted rugs, I sneaker roller skated in your driveway, I had my first kiss in the shed in the backyard, and cried a thousand tears in my old purple bedroom after my first marriage fell apart.
You were a place for holiday celebrations, where extended family gathered. A place where anyone could drop in – no need to call. Mom would whip up a batch of her famous “Greenie Meanies,” an overly sweet mixture of lime sherbet and rum, and dad would charm guests with his jokes and stories. At Hanukkah, you would be filled with the smell of potato pancakes frying and even more laughter as tables of people played the dreidel game to win fake money that they would use in our auction to bid on gifts my father had purchased for the occasion.
And when I got older, you became even more than my childhood home – you became Grandma and Grandpa’s house to my kids. A place where they could jump on the couch, stay up way past their bedtimes, and eat as many sweets as they desired. You might not have been as fancy a place with a pool or hot tub as some of their friends’ grandparents had, but you charmed them just like you did me with the simple presence of the two special people who lived beneath your roof. Knowing that you and my parents were always there was a source of comfort to us all, and the thing I know we will miss the most.
My husband says I am being overly sentimental about saying goodbye to you. He says you are just a house. That HOME is made up of memories and memories travel with you. I know in my head he is right, but my heart can’t help but feel sad letting you go. It’s kind of ironic if you think about it, considering all the years as a teen and young adult that I couldn’t wait to get away from you. But I hope you know, Old House, that you were the ultimate safety net to me, the link to my childhood, the place where I always felt treasured and secure and loved.
So, I guess what I am trying to say is, thanks for always giving my family a place to connect, a place to meet in the middle, for all these years. Thank you for your warmth, your shelter, and for keeping my secrets. Thank you for loving all the special people in my life as much as I loved them.
Goodbye, dependable old friend.
I will love you forever,
Sharon Fuentes is an award-winning freelance writer, special needs parenting advisor and the author of the book, The Don’t Freak Out Guide to Parenting Kids with Asperger’s. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.