Monday, October 1, 2012

Old Houses – Where Love Lives

What is it about an old house that exudes warmth the minute you walk in the door?  Can it possibly convey the laughter and happy times that have happened within its walls?   I think so!

Last week my mom and I received the good news that her house had sold.  So we traveled back to a suburb of Cleveland to clear out some furniture, dishes and clothing.  I knew this would be a tough trip.  Yes, the packing was hard work, but the help of friends and cousins lightened the load.  I was more concerned with packing up my emotions.

This small house that my parents built so long ago and where I was raised would be called “home” no matter where I lived.  The one filled with laughter, late-night card parties, backyard bar-b-ques, and graduation pictures taken on the front lawn.  Even though the living room was now empty of furniture, I could still see the Christmas tree that held so many gifts when my brothers and I would travel back.

The old black wall phone used to be by the side door –when phones had curly-cue cords – and I would stretch it straight as far as I could out the door so that I could sit outside on the stoop and have long conversations with my girlfriends.
I could once again see the swing that my dad built tall and strong - and I can still feel the excitement when you swing just a bit too high and you lift off the seat for a moment. 
Here was the back yard that once held the garden which supplied half the neighborhood with vegetables.
And the kitchen.  A tiny space that created an endless oasis of incredible food – cakes, pies, cookies, pierogies, turkeys, kielbasa, chicken paprikash, and that very special treat on Christmas Eve – shrimp cocktail.  This was the kitchen where I learned to bake – sometimes ending up with more flour on me than in the cookies!
That house held so many memories for both mom and me – it was difficult to leave it for the last time, and I was grateful for the pouring rain that mixed with my tears and rushed us along. It would have been unbearable to leave it in sunny weather.

Several realtors had commented about the “good feeling” of the house.  So maybe it’s NOT just me! 

 I do know one thing – I’m so grateful that our inn feels the same when I walk in.  Probably because we’ve been fortunate enough to know the Homans – a family that lived here from 1931 until 1989. They raised five children here and we’ve been lucky enough to hear their stories and share them with our guests.  And I feel that the house is grateful to once again have its hallways echo with laughter – this time with guests from around the world.
Of course a house witnesses both the good times and bad.  But I’m an eternal optimist and hopeless romantic.  So the good times will always take precedence.

Can people feel the good times?  Since so many of our guests return again and again, I kind of think they can. 
And perhaps, every now and again, we all just need to go “home”, to a place of love and laughter.