Tuesday, December 13, 2005

A House is Made with Walls and Beams

but a home is made with love and dreams.

I thought of this corny quote today as I drove by the house my husband and I shared before we bought our current house. To my shock, the house had been torn down. Not even rubble remained on the site.

I was shocked to discover I had such sentimental feelings for the place, though I always look at the house when I drive by to see what's going on with it.

It was a rental property, but a really charming little house. Built in 1943, it was stone with a screened porch, original hardwood floors, and it was surrounded by seven acres of woods.

In 1997, my boyfriend and I moved into the house together. We rented it from the son of the original owners. We lived in that house for four years and only today did I realize how many memories -- good and bad -- were formed in that house.

Moving in together was a huge decision for us, but in that house, I really felt like we were forming a partnership. And we were. We had an amazing time living in that house.

My first night there someone tried to break in. Our one-year old German Shepherd puppy barked and scared the would-be burglars away.

We had crazy redneck neighbors who shot arrows into our backyard. The same redneck neighbors, on at least one occasion, set their backyard on fire and it spread into the woods behind our house. We called the fire department, but the neighbors never apologized or even acknowledged there was a fire.

We were adopted by the sweetest orange tabby cat who just showed up one winter night. He's still with us, though I know he misses his old hunting ground.

There were other assorted weird incidents like when we learned the county police department had been set up in the woods a few hundred feet from our bedroom window every night for a month. Apparently, a neighbor's teenage son was the head of a burglary ring and they were hiding in the woods using their night vision gear to conduct surveillance on him.

There was the girl who showed up banging on our front door in the middle of the night saying someone tried to rape her at the bus stop. She wanted me to let her in, but ran away when I told her I would call the police to help her.

Then, of course, there was the time we were burglarized. The creeps stole everything including my husband's month old Mac and all of our CDs. Not such a good memory.

Despite all of that, there were so many wonderful things that happened while we lived there. Our first trip to San Francisco. Getting engaged. Going to Merlefest. Getting married. Our first anniversary. Birthdays. Surprise parties. The host of friends who came through that house.

And those are just our memories. I can't imagine the ghosts that linger there from the original owners and their children and the succession of tenants who must have lived there over the years.

I am a little sad at seeing the vacant lot where such a fine old house once stood. But, I'm actually a little thrilled by the reason it was torn down.

DeKalb County bought the land and some adjacent properties in order to create a wildlife preserve. And for that, I am very thankful. I look forward to traipsing around in those woods again with my son and our dog, revisiting old memories and making new ones.

No comments: