Saturday, December 17, 2011


Every night on the way home from work I pass my old house - where we lived for 20 years. We moved in in 1981 - all excited - with interest rates at 17.5%, and barely two dimes to rub together after we put down 50% on on $80,000 house. We'd scraped and saved for 8 years to save up that money but there was no way we could have afforded the house payments without that high down payment. I loved the house for many years. It was old - about 1795 we think - and small- only 1400 square feet - but it fit us and we worked on it, worked the garden, fixed, painted, papered...there was always something to do. We also got Samson when we lived there, and our friends had babies who toddled around our wide pine floors. Sean and Brian would stay over when they were little and I'd have to bundle them up in the morning - cause the house was so cold.

Eventually, we realized that we had to sell the house - it needed a major overhaul and no matter what you did to it, it would always be on a busy road. Health issues precluded taking on such a big job and practically, we felt a newly built house would be better and easier for us. And it has been. I didn't realize how hard I worked in that old house, the old garden was almost overwhelming - the house walls were crooked, the floor tilted, the windows were a joke. In the summer we had to put in the air conditioners and take them down in the winter (and we only had one in the bedroom and one in the tiny studio that DH had). I had no dishwasher, and the washer and dryer were in a damp and dank cellar. Don't get me wrong...I knew we were very rich - we had our own house for goodness sake....but this house was alot of work.

So we moved to our newly built house and after I got over my homesickness - I began to love it - and I still do. I love the ease of it, I love having garage doors and central air and walls and ceilings that meet at right angles. I love the fact that my 6'4" nephew can walk thru the rooms without hitting his head on the ceiling and can walk up the stairs without crouching.

But the other day - as I drove past the old house - I had an almost overwhelming urge to walk up to the front door, and walk back into my life 20 years ago. I felt that if I just knocked on the door, I could step in time - no questions asked. I wanted so badly to be back there with everyone alive again, and so many old friends nearby. I had to keep my hands on the steering wheel - I really did and just keep driving. Of course by the time I got home to this house, I'd convinced myself that I didn't want to go back 20 years...I can't imagine a world without my nephews and my beautiful niece but the thought has haunted me for the past few nights.

I think it's simply the season - it's a time for nostalgia and family. I miss the hustle and bustle of buying presents for kids and watching them open them, and then tossing the paper into the roaring fireplace. I miss the wood smoke smell, and Samson with his funny antlers on.

It'll pass. The season is a tough one this year - my close aunt as well as my MIL died last year in December and I miss them both. I miss my dad, and my dear friend Isabel (who did Christmas like no one else) and I miss my SIL (who always hated every present that we gave her). I miss having my parents live only a few hours away, and family gatherings that were spontaneous. I also know that I didn't appreciate everything and everyone when I did have them, and I feel badly about that. Do you know the play "Our Town"? When the main character has a chance to relive one day in her life? I feel like that right now - like I want to relive a day but know that I really want to embrace the moment, enjoy my friends and family, hug my pooch again.

Oh dear - I didn't mean to go on and on. I do love my life now, and am thankful everyday for friends and family and health - it's just nostalgia...that's all.


sukipoet said...

beautiful post Mim. So wonderfully written. You take me right there with you into this time. It's a holiday memory piece. Oh and Samson, how dear he looks wearing his antlers. I sometimes long for times past myself and in fact often dream of the 1776 crooked house I rented for twenty years. Something warm and cozy about that kind of house. Though I too now would love to find a newer house with all the modern inconveniences so to speak.

Thanks for taking us along on your ride down nostalgia lane.

~Babs said...

OH, I so get it!

Lori ann said...

oh mim, i do so feel your every word. it is the time of year, i think that's part of it. but also your deep love and caring for the people and places that mean so much to you in your life. a beautiful post.
(and your old home, wow).

Jos said...

... "I feel like that right now - like I want to relive a day but know that I really want to embrace the moment, enjoy my friends and family, hug my pooch again." ...

This is so insightful Mim ... we do sometimes hark back to wanting what we had and that's natural ... especially this time of year I think. But in doing so we might well miss out on what we have now ... and then we will wish we had what we have now on top of everything else.

The past is the material upon which we weave the tapestry of the present. Keep your eye on the preesent though otherwise you'll stick yourself with the needle.

Just in case I don't drop by again over the holidays, have a lovely lovely festive season Mim, you and all those you hold dear. Much love xx Jos

kj said...

sniffle sob mim. i've been feeling exactly this way, although i don't think i could have expressed it all as well as you. this season brings a longing inside me, for memories, people, my dog(s) and cats, my bird, my father, the grand hall where we hung those three gorgeous christmas balls and decorated the stairway with real ropes of balsam.

and my young jessica. i'm baking cookies and wrapping presents this year, loving it all, but i find myself wishing i had her and my little family back the way it was. of course i would want my sil and three fantastic little boys, but i miss the past that was. i miss something inside me, as you do.

you and i, we say this knowing how fortunate we are, how good life is to us. but i understand, and i appreciate how touching and honest you've written this.

and your house: sniffle sob all over again.

love always

jinxxxygirl said...

Nothing ever stays the same. Time marches on. Thats why we have to live in the moment. I'm sure we all have moments in time we'd like to freeze and relive. i know i do. Chin up my friend. And as much as we love it thankgoodness Christmas is only once a year. Hugs! deb

Katiejane said...

I know exactly what you are saying. I feel the same way. But I really love the funky old house I live in now. I gave up the newer, more convenient house for charm and character. I love a house with some personality and a history. My present house was built in 1860 - pre Civil War - and I wonder a lot about its previous occupants and all the many holidays it has seen. Our lives do seem to shrink as we get older and people pass on. We just have to keep our chins up and love the moment.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

You are quite right about this time of year being nostalgic. I sometimes yearn for one of those mornings when I awaken and my kids are here and we are awaiting family coming to visit. Those were the days. These are the days too except they are just different.

Robin said...

Mim, this is a gorgeous post.....and oh boy, do I understand the emotions behind it.
Three Christmases ago, I was with the Loves of my Life (Man and Lab)....a good was very full.

This year, it is very different....I miss the Man, the Dog, and certainly the job....but, I going forward with as much strength and hope as I can gather up. One thing I DO have now that I didn't in '08.....real friends...and that is a precious gift indeed.

Happy First Day of Hanukkah to you, Tony and your family! I will think of you as you light that first candle!


♥ Robin ♥

Amanda said...

every time i go to minnesota to see my old house i feel those pangs. i fear someday the house may be torn down and then what? you only have your memories...

yet it is inevitable in life. i love the way you feel grateful for your new home, your life. that is what it's all about.

blessings to you, mim, for a very happy holidays♡

with love,