I live in a pink and green house in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Our living room is orange. Our kitchen ceiling is pink plaid. Every surface in my mother’s bedroom is purple: the rug, the bedding, the walls; she even painted her antique wood furniture lavender. It wasn’t the first house I lived in, but it’s the one I grew up in. In three years, my sister will graduate from high school and my mom will retire. In three years, my mom will put our rainbow of a house on the market and move down to North Carolina.
Even though I’m moving out of my childhood home later this month and across the border to New Jersey, I’m a little nostalgic at the idea of my mom giving up our house for good. I was half hoping she would abandon the idea, so that in a decade or so I can still come home to the same familiar place for Thanksgiving, and can forever look at the wall marked with my sister and mines growing spurts. But last year she bought a house–the retirement house–in North Carolina and she’s renting it out until she’s ready to move. It’s official.
Now accepting that we’ll really be selling our house, I realized that no matter how much we pack and how carefully we clean, we’re inevitably going to leave a lot behind. You can’t help it. For example, when we first moved in, I remember finding forgotten toy soldiers everywhere: buried in mud puddles, in the sandbox, and even shoved into the crannies between bricks in the fireplace. They were a reminder of the boys who used to live there. I decided to write a friendly, theoretical letter to the future homeowners, to prepare them for unusual things my family will leave scattered about the property.
Weave magazine liked the story enough to publish it and, if you’re not already a subscriber, you can order Issue 7 and read the whole story. I gave Weave first publication rights and I don’t want to be disrespectful and publish the whole story online, but in celebration of its publication and the magazine’s arrival in my mailbox today (so excited to read the rest of the contents!) I thought I’d give you all a little taste.
To the New Owners of My Childhood Home
I assure you, it’s in your best interests not to dig in the following places:
- The cranny of lawn nestled next to the raised strawberry beds;
- Underneath the bleeding hearts in the back yard; and
- Among the roots next to the brick walkway.
You will find dead bodies.
9 thoughts on ““To the New Owners of My Childhood Home,” an Excerpt from Weave Magazine”
Congrats Hannah! Like your title. One less waiting room to wait in.
I’ve never heard of this mag and took a drive by.
Can’t locate it on the site.Do they pay or pay in copies?
They pay in copies. And, unofficially, blog traffic. A lot of people have visited my blog because they posted it on their website.
This is great! (I’d love to see a picture of a plaid ceiling!) I recently drove past the house I grew up in and I’m still irritated that they have build a huge fence which totally blocks the view that I want to see of the house! It’s hard leaving the house you grew up in (we sold that house like 25 years ago) but I guess it’s part of life. I hope the move goes well!
My parents use to love taking my sister and I on long winding drives just to tour local towns and see the different houses they grew up. My favorite is when the new homeowners offer to let us come in and explore, for old time’s sake! It’s fun to see renovations and the new home owners love hearing some of the stories of things that happened in their rooms. Here’s a picture of the plaid ceiling! http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=7718051494&set=a.7717701494.23083.636621494&type=3&theater
Well, that IS an intriguing snippet, I must say! 🙂
I love this, I hope it’s based on a true story! I feel like I can relate to it haha 🙂
It is! It’s memoir. Did your parents abandon your childhood home too? My mom is even leaving the state, moving down south for her retirement.
We had to move to somewhere bigger, but I do miss it! I went back to visit but no-one was there 😦