In a suburb of Detroit, on a street named Lorraine, a young couple bought a brand new home; 3 bedroom, 1 1/2 bath, full basement, large yard. With their daughter and son, they moved in and started their daily life. Nothing unusual about that, People do it all the time. Happens every day to millions across the country. Every day someone moves to a new house, starts a new life. That’s the thing, people do it all the time. The year was 1958.
Like any home, I imagine there were trials and tribulations within. Young kids become teens, have their own ideas and their own dreams, soon become young adults. As a parent, we raise our children to be good, honest, hardworking citizens, knowing that one day, they will fly from that nest on their own. When they do venture out, that home is the connection, the comfort zone, the familiar.
Life changes and we move on, leaving one place for another. Seeking either a new adventure, more space or less space. Leaving the nest for the first time for some or downsizing for others. That place we call home can have great meaning to us or be nothing more than a structure to live in. Lorraine was a home, a gathering place for family and friends, a constant. So constant, that the couple lived nowhere else- ever.
The couple was my mother and father in law. I joined the family in 1993, and was welcomed warmly from the beginning. The first time we met, I was greeted with a hug on the front porch of Lorraine. At the end of each visit they would stand on that porch and wave goodbye as we left. Every time, without fail, a constant.
Funny how some things NEVER change. Like the decor in that house. In 20 years, and certainly before I showed up, it remained the same. The same wallpaper in the kitchen, in the bath. The same perpetual christmas decor in the basement. A constant.
It’s hard when things change. We lost my father in law in 2009 and mother in law in August of this year. Years earlier, my mother in law had mentioned she kept money in different places. She wasn’t kidding. We found change and money nearly everywhere. As we went through the house, it was not surprising to see all that was there. I smiled at the box that held the wedding shower cards-from moms wedding in 1944. The various coin purses- filled with coins, in several drawers. But the biggest smile for me was finding miniature candy bars and candies in nearly every coat pocket in the hall closet. I never knew.
As we sat at the kitchen table that one last time, I listened as the hall clock chimed, as the floor boards had that squeak when you walked down the hallway, how I could hear the others in the basement start a new game of pool. Those familiar sounds, so constant throughout the years, that I will miss.
The contents of the house will be sold soon. Gone will be the knick knacks, the dishes, the treasures that were their life. Soon after, the house itself will be sold. Gone will be the constant, the home the family knew. The house is just a place, the home will live in our hearts forever, as will the sight of the two of them standing on the porch waving as we pull away.