My parents built the house in 1956, a fine 2600 square foot brick split-level with 3 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, 2 fireplaces, and a full walk-up attic where bats and squirrels occasionally took up residence.
The front yard was large and the back yard was huge, sloping down to thick woods that led down to a languid, unassuming creek that was perfect for hunting tadpoles and crawdads. The neighborhood was filled with boys my age looking for adventure.
The boys are men now – old men – but I still remember games of croquet in the front yard and badminton in the back. Jumping in piles of autumn leaves in the gully near the creek. Building forts and nearly losing my finger to a hatchet in the process. Cub Scout meetings and games of catch with my father. Baseball games and All Star teams. Running through the sprinkler and drinking grape Kool-Aid on hot summer days. Birthday parties and Christmas mornings. Sleepovers, comic books, and cartoons. Bowling at Crest Lanes and Saturdays at the movies, admission 25 cents.
Diane and I were in the house on an August day 45 years ago when we decided to elope to North Carolina. It’s the only sensible way to get married.
59 years is a lifetime.
The movers came last Monday. My mother’s new condo in the retirement community on the outskirts of town is less than half the size of the house, but it’s perfect for her. It’s a nice place and she likes it. The staff is considerate and she has several friends there.
The house is vacant now, but it’s not empty. If you step inside you can hear the memories.
Time flies. It does.