We just wrapped up a move to a new place. There’s nothing like packing up all your treasured possessions to nudge you into a time of introspection.
Introspection and reflection.
We spent the last 4+ years in a massive old house.
Old say i? Yes, construction was completed on the house in 1901. That’s two years before the Wright brothers launched a flimsy (by design, it was a “flex-wing”) glider down a beach in North Carolina. So before mankind had even rudimentary flight the house was wrapped up and ready for occupation.
Massive say i? Again, yes. “Colonial Revival Style Mansion” is (i believe) how it’s described on the historic registry. Enough space that we sublet most of the upstairs to friends, had TWO full size dining room tables, and converted one of the butler’s kitchens (yeah, i said butler’s kitchens) into a mud-room/laundry room while we were there.
As we searched for places to move into we saw an ad for the house and called for a walk-through mostly as a joke, something fun to do since we were looking at houses to rent anyway. The first time we walked into the giant we were awestruck by the scale of everything. 12′ Ceilings EVERYWHERE, a set of solid wood pocket doors so massive they looked like castle gates when closed, an opulent dark wood staircase worthy of gone with the wind…
If you told me that one day the scale of that house would be dwarfed by our affection for it… i don’t think i could’ve believed you on that day we first set foot inside the house… But somewhere along the way that’s exactly what happened.
Despite the constant battle with mold and mildew, despite the fact that it cost roughly the GDP of a small island nation to “heat”it in the winter months (“heat” was a relative term there, the lowest i ever saw the house was a crisp 40.5 degrees fahrenheit. 98.3 was the warmest my digital thermometer recorded one balmy summer day as well), despite the fact that it was comfortable for about 65 days a year (those in the Early Spring and Mid-Fall), it stopped being a giant old mansion and became Home to us.
On that Thursday night, the last day of November, when i placed the last of our possessions in a trailer and turned to survey what had been our kingdom for several years i found that it was much the same as saying goodbye to an old and dear friend. i placed a hand on the woodwork of the foyer wall and said my last goodbye. Grave’s House (it was built by the Graves family and over the years that became its name to us) you will always hold a special place in my heart.
Now i lay my head to rest in a nondescript townhome. Embracing the central heat & air, the friendly neighbors (the egalitarian ambiance is nice, you can’t be envious when all your neighbors have the same square-footage as you), and lower utility bills all around. This is now just as much home as Grave’s house ever was, it’s the people you share a roof and walls with that make a place home, now we’re just close enough together that we don’t have to call or text when it’s time to come down for dinner!
But we’ll always have our season in Grave’s house.