Reading the Post-Standard (www.syracuse.com) today at breakfast Sean Kirst's article caught me unawares. I am usually prepared for him, but today I wasn't. I thought I was reading an article more related to real estate; a man was selling the house his father had built years ago. But when he got to the part about how his father had kept a box of balls the dog had retrieved on a summer's evening of play when the man was a boy, well, I lost it. Am again, too, as I write. A house is a home, not just a commodity.
Then I realized why it hit me so hard. Bob's father also built the house his family grew up in - all seven kids in what today would be considered a small cape on the west side of Syracuse when there were still meadows down the road. The boys had one bedroom and the girls had another. Bob's mother is still there and hauling things out that she had saved, just like in Sean's article. Ten years ago Bob's father passed away, just as we were getting married. He attended our shower, a shower I had protested against but am now so glad I gave into having, in early May. Then the doctor's appointments started. Alex graduated from Mary Washington College the next weekend and we checked train schedules in case Bob had to get back quickly. Mr. C passed away on Tuesday, the calling hours were Thursday, funeral Friday and we were married on Saturday. He was going to walk me down the aisle, but instead we had a ton more guests than originally planned.
So Sean's article hit me. I look at the photos now - my aunts and one of Bob's are gone, as is my mother. Alex's best friend passed away in the interim too - we didn't know he was sick until later that summer. Cheri and Wayne McDonald catered our wedding reception, adjusting to an extra fifty guests without a blink. Wayne is gone, too. Our home holds those memories, just as Sean described.
This week we welcomed a baby into the world, my brother- and sister-in-law's first grandbaby, Jason. Stop in to Hobby House and tell them congratulations if you get a chance. The baby's father was on his way home from Afghanistan for the birth and didn't make it in time - Jason had other plans apparently. But he's there now, and a new generation has begun.
So as you buy houses and sell houses, prices are of course important as are the conditions of the house and all the legal and financial work that goes into the process - but they are also homes. Homes in which people have lived or will live. Where memories are made and forgotten. Thank you, Sean, for reminding me.