Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Blue Door


 It was almost 23 years ago when we stumbled across a little house in a small village out in Western Oklahoma near the school where I was teaching.

The house had been re-possessed by the bank, abandoned, left with windows open and grass gone wild. Birds had nested in the light fixtures, and the carpet had been soaked with rain water several times. Still, it wasn't so bad. Dirty, but not filthy. Cleanable, paintable, fixable and livable. It was small, and had a tiny bathroom, but the three bedrooms each had a closet of their own, and there was room for a washer and dryer, albeit crammed into the already crowded kitchen. Someone had built a room off the back of the house, but it was only accessible from the back porch...or a bedroom window. It was a scraggly, forlorn little place and most people didn't give it a second glance. But we had three young children, and not a lot of money. The neighborhood was a perfect place for us and we never regretted the decision.

Over the years, we built another room onto the house--one which connected the main building with the odd room out back-- lived in the house for five years, rented it out for several years while we lived in Colorado, moved back into it again about the time our oldest daughter went to college, and finally, sold it when we moved into the parsonage where we are now. However, we sold it to our daughter and her husband, so for ten more years we have been in close contact with the house. Art and Carina completely re-modeled the house--roof, floors, walls, lights, woodwork. They took out an old, water-filled storm shelter, added a fireplace and built another bathroom, created attic access, stripped and stained cabinets. In short, made a beautiful home, just in time to leave it.

Yesterday, I watched as Carina, Zaya and Mim drove off toward Missouri to join Art at his new job and move into a new house. I helped as the movers cleared out the last of their stuff. We carried on, bantering about who was being lazy and who had lost the tape. Turtle came by, and Elijah and Marie. Art's mom came after noon, and helped with those gritty decisions about what to do with stuff left over. I gave a paint of coat to a few doors, covering little hand prints and a few penciled records of how tall children were at what age. My hands never fumbled, but sometimes my heart did.

It's only six hours to Missouri. I'll visit often. That's what I keep telling myself.

When everybody was gone I painted the door a bright, sparkling blue.
Three times I've painted that door blue.
It looks beautiful.




Three word Wednesday: Glance, fumble, banter

13 comments:

Cynthia said...

Wow, this is a good read. A nicely
woven story.

Catherine Denton said...

That color is stunning. It's hard to leave a house that's been so dear to your heart. I hope the next tenants cherish it as much as you do.
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Angel said...

Lovely memories.

Alice Audrey said...

Did the house sell? I've had mine up for sale for five years now.

Great use of three words. Please come see my three words

Lilibeth said...

The house hasn't sold yet. They have talked to an agent but it hasn't actually been listed. We (his family and her family) would really rather it didn't sell for a while. We're hoping another family member will need it soon and buy it.Keep it in the family, so to speak. But at the same time we don't want a house to stand in the way of progress.

Laurie Kolp said...

A heartwarming story. You made the house a home and now someone else will. The memories will live forever.

Sheilagh Lee said...

lovely remembrances there, its nice that you want to keep it int he family.:)

Kim Nelson said...

Your words touch my heart. Most of a lifetime shared in one small story. Lovely.

oldegg said...

I am an old softie. I all but cried reading this piece. All those memories centered around that house and now it is no longer yours. A stunningly beautiful post (and door!)

jaerose said...

It is beautiful and full of hope..like a sky under which you all live..safely..It would be good to think the house stays in your family for many more generations..Jae

Christine said...

a house is never just a house, when a family paints it with love

Altonian said...

This is a slightly sad, but heartwarming account of a much loved house. I get the same feelings whenever I see Gothic Cottage, which is no longer 'in the family'.

aftergrace said...

I've got tears in my eyes reading this dear cousin. I know this whole move thing has been so hard on all of you. Wouldn't it be great if Marie and Elijah could buy the house?
Anyway, love to you and your family. <3