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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Highland Home

Dear Mom,

Leigh Ann and I fly down to Quincy tomorrow to get the house ready for its new owners. We are lucky to have found two gals who are excited to make it their home. Everyone says they are so nice.

Of course this brings up A LOT of memories. I told Miss Betty and Miss Patsy the weekend theme should be that Dr. Seuss quote, "Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened." But I keep thinking about the fact you never cried when we talked about your cancer and the fact you were dying...but you cried when we talked about losing that house and everything it represented.

The back and forth we've enjoyed with our neighbors -- since 1990, but especially in the past years -- has been simply priceless.

So, in the interest of "smiling because it happened," here's a little walk down memory lane.

We moved to Highland Avenue in August of 1990 after you and Dad separated. It was a BIG change for us, since we'd grown up in the country, with plenty of space for bike riding and a big ol' yard full of pine trees and azaleas.

Our friends still remember the birthday parties and pool parties you would host for us...when we would turn the back porch into a roller rink, and Dad would accompany us on the drums while we skated all over the brick floor.

All of that changed pretty suddenly in 1990. You always said the most tangible sign of God's grace in your life was the availability of the house at 415 Highland Avenue, right when we needed it. And right where we needed to be -- surrounded by friends and "frelatives."

Funny enough, you'd never been one who sent photo Christmas cards, but you did send them that year...and the next year...and the year after that...

I think for you it was a way of sending a visible sign that we'd made a fresh start, and we were going to be okay.

And we were. There were so many good times in that house. Luncheons with your friends...
Family gatherings. (Look how little John and Julia are! And there's Mrs. Cook, years before she moved to Quincy from Durham, where she was my surrogate grandmother at Duke. Who could have known then she would end up right next door?!)
Late-night laughs and endless analysis sessions in that den. You liked to say we functioned sort of like three sisters in that house.

To make things work when we moved, we decided to divide up the chores. Everyone was supposed to have a particular night to cook supper. That did not last long after Leigh Annie made Hamburger Helper!!!

Here I am one day when I got so grossed out by the dirty windows that I decided to clean them. I am pretty sure that was the only time they ever got washed (other than when Miss Betty came down from time to time with her hose...). What was it Grandmama said about housekeeping? "Clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be happy."
You always remembered Blucher and Margaret had the living room painted Williamsburg Blue, so you were very happy the year you restored it to its rightful color! 
It may not have been our "childhood" home, but there were still a lot of rites of passage clocked during our 24 years there. Remember how excited Amanda and I were to go to the Maclay Christmas Formal? (And remember how I gave a hotter guy my number while my date was in the bathroom?! Oops.)

Prom nights...

Attending the annual Sawano Club Christmas Dance once we "graduated" into being allowed to go...

Getting our driver's licenses and first cars...

Leigh Ann riding back to Emory one Thanksgiving with Amy Curry...

Boyfriends coming to visit. (Remember when Eddie spent the night in Leigh Ann's bed, and you decided it was an opportune time to tell me you'd been listening to us talk through the vents for years?!)

Catching up with high school friends when we were home on Christmas or summer breaks from college...

Around the time we moved in 1990, I got a call from a strange lady who had recently moved to town and begun attending the Presbyterian Church. I can't remember who gave her my name, but she called me while I was at the Dyers' house and said, "I'm Juliane Hackney, and I heard you are a great babysitter! I have four boys -- but they are real sweet."

"Yeah, right, lady!" I thought. "Sure they are."

But she was right. They were sweet. And they all still are! We saw that last year when we went to Martin's wedding.

Here are William and Joseph one Halloween when I was in high school and passing out candy...

A couple of times, we amused ourselves by executing home repairs while you were out of town or otherwise unaware. I can't remember where you were the time we got some of your students to come over and take your iron bed to the body shop to have it painted dark green... Who's in that picture? Martin, Adrian, Fletcher and somebody... Or maybe you got them to come over and move furniture when you were painting? Who knows.

Another "extended family" shot -- we are looking forward to seeing Virginia and her gang this weekend. I showed her this picture recently, and she said, "Look how young I was!" (We cannot figure out who Bobbie is holding.)
I couldn't figure out how to end this post. So, as I scrolled back through the pictures looking for inspiration, I realized something big was missing. THERE WERE NO PICTURES OF RANIE!!! How could that be? 

I had to go back into the files and pull out a few. Just think of all the time we spent cooking in your kitchen...from the years when we were too young to drive to the Winn Dixie and had to use whatever we the years when we made Christmas pecans and drove them around the neighborhood.
Ranie and I were both "back in the nest" in 2002 and 2003 when we were working girls, and she would come down on Monday nights for reality TV. It was so much fun to be part of her wedding to J.T. She was amazing over the holidays this year. I don't know what Leigh Ann and I would have done without her. 
But maybe there's something perfect about ending the post with these early 80s shots from outside the Subers' house, where we will be on Sunday night for a farewell party. 

Because there was a time before we moved to Highland Avenue. And there will be a time after. We will always miss you, but we will watch Benjamin, William and Andrew grow up and make their own memories on that special street. 

As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be...

A house is made of brick and stone. 
A home is made of love alone



1 comment:

Jennifer said...

so eloquent. so special. thank you for sharing.