Last month, I met the woman who built our house.
She was driving by with her friend, and had stopped along the street to point out things to him. Coincidentally, as she was stopping, I opened the front door to wave ttfn to The Husband and The Children, who were on their way to LFCC for a swim. She thought I was waving to her. So I did – and then asked to her to come in, have some tea, see the house. Though she didn’t want to have a look around — ‘too many memories,’ she said, she did want to chat. About why she and her husband chose the land, who was living on the street then, which rooms belonged to which child, and how much fun they had together in the five short years they lived here. She told me about the changes they’d made to the builder’s specs. And about the arguments they’d had with said builder. She told me about the trials and tribulations of getting all of the granite shipped over from their property back East. About boisterous evenings with friends and long winter nights with the fires blazing in the grates. How they’d dreamed of growing old here. And how deeply sad she was to have to sell after her husband died.
We talked about plans, and how they go awry. We talked about the relief we feel when we’ve loved a house and then meet the next someone who loves it too. We talked about her 91st birthday. And what the future might hold for us as a family. And whether or not her grandson really would stick to his decision to wait until he’s 35 to get married because ‘that lovely girlfriend won’t wait forever.’
We talked about the three things that, if we give them our time, give back more than we’ve invested: a meal, a house, and a family. We talked about all of this — in just a twenty-five minute conversation.
We exchanged information; I wanted to keep in touch, if that was ok. It was. Then she thanked me for talking with her — and for painting the house ‘the color [she] wished [they] would have.’