Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Old Homestead

By Alan Caruba

From 1942 until 2004, I lived in a lovely, suburban, upscale town called Maplewood. It is one of those picture postcard towns in New Jersey, so perfect it was used for some of the scenes in the movie, "One True Thing" that starred Meryl Streep.

Rising property taxes and the fact that living in a three-bedroom home alone made no sense led me to sell--happily at the top of the housing market--and I moved to a luxury apartment complex one town over. In truth, I do not miss having to mow the lawns, rake the leaves, or shovel the snow. Or paying others exorbitant fees to do so.

So, this morning I received a call from the owner of my former home, a doctor of internal medicine who is now moving his growing family to Arizona. That's a far cry from the 62 years my parents and I spent in that house.

And what is the one question friends and family want to know? How much is the old house selling for? Given the renovations, far more than I received, but given the housing market, likely to turn out to be less by comparison.

It is an odd thing to leave a home in which virtually the whole of one's life has been lived. (I was five years old when my parents purchased it.) I thought the transition would be far more difficult, but in truth it wasn't. The house was repainted a different color, given a new roof with a new color. Suffice it to say the interior underwent changes as well; a whole new kitchen, new heating and cooling, et cetera.

I have had occasion to visit with the new--soon to be former--owners. The house has the shape and form of what it has always been, but it quickly ceased to reflect any of the familiar library of books that filled the rooms, the comfortable furniture from acquitions over the years, and of course my loved ones were gone. I doubt their ghosts would have wanted to remain.

So now 9 Brookside will pass to new owners, oblivious of the lives lived there, the wonderful memories when friends and family gathered. Those remain for me and those are my treasures, worth far more than just the house.

No comments: