As many of you know, last summer, my mother was diagnosed with cancer. She was in and out of the hospital, in and out of a rehab facility. Finally, we all came to the realization that she can't live by herself any more. So, last November, she came to live with my family.
Since then, my brother and I have been cleaning out her house. My grandparents bought that house back in 1955, for $14,000. I found the original mortgage paperwork, which showed their monthly payment was $69. I also found the papers from the bank (a bank which no longer even exists) sent when that mortgage was paid off. My family is the only one to ever occupy that house. There was nearly 60 years worth of history in the attic alone - such as my grandmother's Lane hope chest, given to her when she married my grandfather back in the late 1930s.It's a beautiful chest and the only damage is cosmetic, so I'm going to strip and refinish it once the weather stays nice enough to work outside.
It's been bittersweet, going through everything. We found so many of our old toys of ours, still in relatively good condition, such as our old Star Wars figures. We also found toys that belonged to our mom, and her sisters. A little more beat up, but still kind of cool. There were heavy cast iron toys. Old clothes. My aunt's wedding gown from the 1960s. Old books. Some of it we kept, some had to go, but it was amazing to go through all of it - even if we grumbled about the streak of pack-ratitis that seems to have run through the previous generations.
It's taken us a few months to get the house emptied. Now, 60+ years of history has been whittled down into about a dozen boxes. The house is now empty (aside from those boxes, which are temporarily being stored in what was my mother's bedroom.) The furniture's gone. The pictures have been taken down. The floors have been stripped and refinished. The walls are freshly painted. The house I grew up in, the house that had been my childhood home, that had been my mother's childhood home, is now just a house. It feels empty, and not just physically empty. It feels abandoned.
It went up on the market yesterday. Someday (hopefully soon) it will be sold and that chapter of our lives will shut while a new one will begin for another family. It's weird to think that, one day soon, I will walk by the house and someone else will live there. Our house is in the same neighborhood, and when I walk the dog, I usually go by it. I can't imagine different people living there, but I do hope that they're happy there.