This weekend, I helped my parents move out of a house they’ve lived in for the last two decades.  It was crazy, packing up twenty years of their lives into brown boxes and a U-Haul truck.  My younger brother, my sister, and brother-in-law were also there to lend a hand.  The mood was energetic and hectic and frustrating all at once.  They kept some furniture, sold a lot, and donated the rest to charity.  Until they finally vacate the house in a few days, all that’s left in the family home are an inflatable mattress, a TV, and a computer. 

My parents had had their house on the market for a couple of years, and everyone was elated when they finally sold it.  On one hand, I’m happy for them as they get ready to transition to a new city, a new state.  On the other hand, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of loss.  By extension, it was certainly somewhere to which I knew I could always “come home.”  I had a room there, which, in spite of the many iterations it had undergone since I actually last lived there, they’d always referred to it as “Jon’s room.” 

It was weird to watch as strangers walked out of the house with my parents’ furniture.  I felt a sense of melancholy as I placed on the curb items they were giving away for free.  Sure those knick knacks would never be of use to them any longer, but those things were always in the house, in the background, instant memories in the form of fixtures and wall art and handmade ceramic bowls.

I suppose the reason I feel such loss is because that house belonged to the family the longest.  We moved a lot while we were younger, staying at the same place for three years or less.  Therefore, those other houses were not as memorable as this last one.  My younger brother went through elementary school and high school while living in that house.  I can only imagine how he feels.

I know in the end it’s just brick and mortar and wood and shingles.  And that “home is where the heart is.”  But I can’t help it.  I will miss that house.


2 Responses to “Homestead”

  1. 1 megan April 7, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    I have an idea of how you feel. It was tough when my parents moved out of their house, which they had also lived in for about twenty years. I knew that it was a practical move: I was leaving for college, my brother was hardly home, and they had no need to put the effort into taking care of such a large house that no longer had the family there to fill it. Hence the move to a smaller house down the road. Despite knowing that I was moving out of that house, it was difficult to watch them move from it. Knowing that I wouldn’t be able to come home to “my room” was gut-wrenching. Even now, ten years later, my parents’ house doesn’t feel like home to me. It’s just my parents’ house, not my childhood home.

    I hope the move went well for your folks.

  2. 2 smysore April 13, 2010 at 12:14 am

    Hmmm, we left our home of 10 years when we moved from the U.S last year, so the feelings are still very fresh for me. It was not my childhood home, but it was the first home we owned as couple, our kids were born there and every nook and corner of the house has a memory, a story. I still sometime look it up on Google earth and my kids occasionally talk about it too.

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