Growing up as a service brat, my parents moved on average every 3 years. Since then I’ve stayed put longer. I’ve been in this house on my beloved mountain for 14 years. Our previous home lasted 18. I wanted my son to have an opportunity I never had, to go from kindergarten through high school with the same group of friends.
My husband, Tim, and his family on the other hand, never moved. His father was born (few went to hospital to give birth in 1914) in the house Tim grew up in. My mother-in-law lived her entire life a few blocks away until her marriage. She and her new husband had a rental house, in the same neighborhood, for a few months, but soon moved back into the family homestead to take care of his ailing mother. They never moved again.
When you move every few years you tend to toss accumulations of stuff—old toys, letters, clothes, worn out tools, keeping only very precious mementos and photographs.
There are 4 generations of stuff crammed into my mother-in-law’s house. The process of clearing it out for the new owners—OMG no one but the family who built that house has lived there before—is heart-wrenching as old memories, good and bad, surface with each new treasure or piece of trash.
A true gem that brought tears to everyone’s eyes: a typed letter of congratulation to my in laws, signed by the then mayor of Portland, upon the birth of their son.
Times have truly changed. I cannot imagine Mayor Sam Adams having the time to send out letters—even computer generated form letters with a stamped signature—for every birth in a city of over a million people, and half a dozen hospitals.
So, as we pass the house on to a new family who will love and cherish it, we are reminded that it is time to let go of the past and embrace the future in the form of my grandchildren who’s pictures decorated great grandma’s refrigerator and now mine.
Life changes. Life continues.