If our old house could talk, what would it say? A lot of people have said goodbye to the house that they grew up in over the years, and a couple of years ago, my parents sold the one my brother and I grew up in.
My brother and I had already moved out of the house by that point, and I'm sure it wasn't the same for my mom and dad. Voices in the house were distant. I'm sure it felt empty for them. After all, a house is just a house, right? But we had many fond memories growing up in that home in Chicago Ridge, Ill.
They were simple, but happy times there. My brother and I played baseball in the driveway with a green rubber ball that didn't know how to stay straight when you threw it. We played every day in the summer, and that's what bonded us and probably made us better baseball players. We played with that green rubber ball until one day I hit it into an open window of a moving pick-up truck. The guy just kept driving, seemingly unknowing that a ball just landed in his back seat.
My dad had me do little things outside the house, like cut the grass and trim the bushes. I didn't get an allowance, but I was okay with that. I was happy to help out and get the exercise. I remember what a pain it was to try to mow around that huge Oak we had in the front yard. But that same tree was one of my favorite features of the home. I looked out on that tree from my room and it gave me peace in the most stressful of times. I witnessed the changing of seasons through the eyes of that tree each year. I even recall hitting a wiffle ball over it as a little kid, just as my best friend rode up on his bike. He witnessed me doing that and thought I was the greatest hitter since Babe Ruth.
Christmastime was an especially happy time there. We didn't put our tree up together, but my mom always said that if we were good, Santa would bring us our tree. Around the first weekend in December, we would all go out to dinner or the mall or something and then come back and there would be the tree, all lit up in the front window. I jumped for joy, seeing that he came. It's a tradition I'll always associate with my family and that home.
I remember when we did some remodeling inside and my parents let me pick out the paint color for my room. I had just gotten back from Florida with some friends and I picked an ocean blue. I loved the color and it always reminded me of my time with them on that beach in Destin. Now it reminds of my time in that home.
The house was full of laughter and love. My dad rough housed with us or played basketball with us in the backyard, my mom cooked terrific meals and went with us on walks around the neighborhood. It wasn't the biggest house in the world, but it was big on family and we thought it was just the right size growing up.
When my brother and I got older though, we wanted out, as most adults do seeking to move on with their lives. We had gotten too big for the house. But our family will never forget the house that meant so much to us. The new family there is a good one, and since we moved out, they have added all new siding to it and a front porch. It's weird to see what we called our home changed, but in reality, it never has. We will always remember it as it was. Now it's the new homeowners to make it theirs. Life moves on, and now that we are in our new homes, we will make it ours.
A house is just a house, but a home lasts forever. I thank my family for giving me a good one.