Camera in one hand, heart in the other. That's the premise and this week for me, that certainly is true.
I sell houses. Real Estate. I don't like it. It isn't a match for me.....I'm not meant to sell things but, I don't know what I want to be when I grow up, so I keep doing this hoping I'll figure out what I should be doing instead. There's still time. Retirement is only/still/at least 15 years away.
A week or so back my grandmother's old house went on the market. It is currently owned by my aunt and uncle, so tho' it's been 10+ years since my grandmother passed....well, inside my brain and heart, it's still her house. And within a day or two someone wanted to see it . A potential buyer. I was on tap for showing the property. I hadn't been inside but once or twice since she passed. Wow.
Because it's business and this is what I do, when the gentleman said "oh....this is a total "gut" job", it didn't bother me. He's right. There is a lot of updating that needs doing in an 1850's home (a lot). But being in the space, she was still there. And "gutting it" is gutting her, and my memories, and something irreplaceable. After the showing I went out to my car and got my camera. Just in case, you know, it was my last time being there with her. Alone.
I didn't take a lot of photos, but some things just struck me as "her"....that when I saw them, I felt her presence, like an angel.
I noted that I knew where to reach for a light switch, or where the floor dipped, or when an old glass doorknob had been changed for something updated. I saw the ugly wallpaper still hanging in the living room, and the window where she would sit and look out from her rocking chair. It was hard not to see those things.
I stopped at the beautiful etched glass in the front doors-yes two-and took a variety of photos. It was only later when processing them I remembered we (my cousins and myself) were NOT allowed to touch the doors. At all. Yet, they pulled me in as her.
The old cast iron stove still sits in the kitchen. When I would spend the night in the unheated upstairs, she would send me to bed with a brick from the oven wrapped in a dish towel that warmed the sheets and my feet. Tho' the butterfly bedspreads are long gone, I could still see them. I'm sure they are still there. I can almost touch them-feel their stitches, see their varied colors-if I close my eyes.
There she is "Gaga" surrounded by the next generation, the great-granchildren. My aunt and uncle's grandchildren. I wonder if they know my generation had "hipped" her up to just "Gug".
On my way out, locking the door she forever left unlocked and "open" I found her on the screened porch overlooking the yard where whiffle ball was played and where I pushed the red lawn mower back and forth every other week for $15 dollars. I saw the tree, now better than 20 feet high, an Arbor Day gift that arrived in a styrofoam coffee cup from a third grade classroom. In the raw February wind I saw the amazing flower gardens, now long gone, that she tended summer after summer.
She Sat Here
I don't fault my aunt and uncle for selling their/her house. I totally understand and I know from my time in the real estate business, a house is not a home. But I do cherish the chance I had to be with my grandmother again for just 20 minutes or so. Just she and I rambling around in that big house.
I think I was her favorite....either that or she was the kind of grandmother that made every grandchild believe that. I do know, she was my favorite, even though she was my only grandparent-had I had 100, she would still have been number 1 to me.
*On another note....the potential buyers did make an offer, but it was very low, so the house remains on the market. Perhaps a buyer will come along that won't find it a "gut job"; a buyer who delights in old homes and who will update the house, my memories, and "Gug" with tenderness.
I'm afraid that this week, my heart was in one hand AND in the other and that my camera was just a device hanging 'round my neck. I do appreciate the read anyway and give thanks to Lisa for this forum to share....and to you for any comment you wish to make.