I’ve never been terribly sentimental about “things”. People, yes, but not stuff. With the exception of pictures and a few other mementos, things are just something to collect dust on a shelf and be moved from one place to the next.
It’s an odd feeling this week, though, now that mom has finally decided to sell the house I grew up in. She has lived in that house since 1966, but she decided that it was just too much for her, too big and needed too much maintenance. I don’t blame her and I think it was a smart decision.
Realistically, I haven’t lived in that house for more than 20 years. Still, that house is full of memories from a childhood and a family. There were difficult times: I remember listening to the radio over breakfast before school and hearing them talk about the company my dad worked for. We didn’t know if he was going to have to go on strike with the union. That was in the late 70s and I was all of 10- or 11-years-old. There were good times too. I remember model trains, model cars and model rockets and playing games by the Christmas tree.
That house was a place my friends knew they could come to and hang out. Saturday mornings, it wasn’t unusual for kids to drop in for breakfast or to wake up there. In later years, friends and girlfriends would simply drop in, walk through the front door and say hi. We threw parties there; cookouts and volleyball days in the yard. Mom knew that when the party was over, everyone would pitch in and pick up the trash. When I left for college, I brought friends home to stay there. When a friend’s family moved away from West Virginia but he was still at Marshall, he came home with me for weekends.
Home for me isn’t about a house or even a place. It is family and tradition and friends who are closer to you than family. It is about getting through the bad times, experiencing the good times and being there for all the times in between. I don’t know anything about the people that bought the house. I hope it is a relatively young family so they can begin their lives there. I hope the memories and the joy that grew up in that house over the last nearly 50 years help them get their lives off to a great start.