Twenty seven years ago, I left for overnight camp without knowing where I was going to live when I returned home. It was nothing terrible…I promise. My parents just sold our house before I left and were yet to find a new one. I said goodbye to my old neighbors, packed both my room and my camp duffles, and boarded the bus for camp (secretly excited that I only had to write letters to one place – my grandparents’ house where we were staying until my parents found a new home).
Nowadays, we are all about easing our kids into transition, but my dad was old school. He knew that I would be happy wherever our family moved, so off to camp I went with no idea where I would be going upon return.
When the buses pulled back into town, I had a new home. My parents took me right over to see it.
I was super excited because there were lots of kids in the neighborhood (being an only child this was very important). I had a new room to paint pink, a brand new carpool for school, and a tiny crush on one of the boys in the neighborhood (I was 10!!).
I fell in love with that house right away. We played kickball up the street almost every day and rode our bikes with passion. There were sleepover parties in the basement and family cookouts in the backyard. I remember extended family staying with us for my Bat-Mitzvah and celebrating the weekend away.
Soon, Randi moved across the street. We watched Santa Barbara after high school and ate potato chips daily (Randi’s memory – not mine). My friends’ Todd and Brett drove me to high school. I can still hear them beeping in the morning.
Oh, there were parties and spin the bottle and other firsts in that house, too. I guess now I can freely talk about those while blushing just a little.
My favorite room of the house was my bathroom where I stored my endless supply of makeup and trusty curling iron. Remember those big, poofed out bangs we used to curl over the curling iron barrel? Yep, my bathroom is where it all happened. My closest (and no fuss) friend, Ali, will tell you that she spent countless hours waiting for me to get ready upstairs in that bathroom before we went anywhere in high school. Hard to imagine having that much disposable time now as a parent myself.
We had a huge L-shaped sectional sofa that became the setting for all the Prom and Semi -Formal Pictures for years. There was always food and non-alcoholic punch for every picture-taking occasion. The merriment spilled over into the Jewish Holidays and my high-school graduation party that my parents graciously held.
My mom recently remembered the weekend of my shared sweet 16 party with my friend Melissa when we hosted about 20 friends from out-of-town. Overnight camp friends and roommates from the summer we spent in Israel at age 15 spilled into Pittsburgh, and there were sleeping bags and futon chairs everywhere you turned in my house. My parents ALWAYS welcomed this kind of camaraderie and craziness.
My dad retired after being diagnosed with kidney failure, and spent his days at our home watching old movies. He loved his movie trivia, and the neighbors always looked for his ‘head’ in the TV room window. One day it wasn’t there anymore. He was gone, but my mom stayed in the house. Perhaps because the memories were too hard to leave. That was NINE years ago.
The memories have only grown. My dad was lucky enough to see JB use the nursery my mom set up when he was born and enjoy dilly bars from DQ in the yard. There were a few times I even left him for a nap with my dad watching TV downstairs. Those were the best days. Later, BB drove us crazy with his crab crawl around the first floor.
My kids secured friendships with the new kids in MY old neighborhood, and brought their bikes over to MY old house. They yelled ‘car’ when traffic was coming down the usually quiet street. They did not play kickball as there are now houses in the empty lot where we used to play. They used Randi’s old basketball hoop instead.
Now, the SOLD sign hangs heavy literally and figuratively as my mom is moving. Moving to an apartment which will surely be full of new memories and swimming (her complex has a POOL!). We purged and laughed and cried over the last few months, and I think my mom is ready for a fresh start. I know that I am so excited to see my mom enjoy her new place and DUVET cover.
By the way – have you ever put a Duvet Cover over the comforter? It sucks. I give my mom 2 months with the Duvet.
I am sure gonna miss my house though.
editor’s note: this post intentionally did not run until my mom closed on MY house. Goodbye old, Hello new.
Do we ever forget the memories of our youth? Will this always be my house?