Mama’s House

We sold Mama’s house yesterday. It took over a year to get it to a point where someone would take it. Everything seemed pretty okay to us right up until the time Mom died. She must have been the caulk holding it together.

We had to replace the brickwork on the chimney outside, which meant evicting a raccoon who had set up residence in there, no one really knows for how long. We just always thought the back room had a persistent musty odor. He didn’t want to go.

We found mold in the attic, and the roof was all spongy, so most of the top of the house had to be replaced. We put new flooring and counters in the kitchen and reglazed the bath fixtures. We yanked out the carpeting and tore down the dated wallpaper. We hauled things out, took what we wanted, gave a lot away, and trashed the rest.

The house is starkly empty now. No dining table where Mom sat every morning drinking coffee and reading the paper. No out-of-tune piano. No toys in the green room. No Anne Murray on the CD player. No spices under the cupboard or strawberry jam in the frig. No Mom.

We went over there on Sunday to say goodbye, my sister and I, our five daughters and a few related Johnny-come-latelies. We brought along a folding table and chairs and made some of the foods Mom used to make. Not the same as hers, mind you, but effort was expended. I made her one-of-a-kind fudge, which is touchy as hell; if you don’t pour it at the exact optimum moment, it’s either too soft or virtually unspreadable. She always got it right. Mine was on the soft side.

THESE PEOPLE WERE CLUELESS. I THINK THEY JUST CAME FOR THE FOOD.

THESE PEOPLE WERE CLUELESS. I THINK THEY JUST CAME FOR THE FOOD.

We drank Fuzzy Navels and brandy-7s. The granddaughters recalled many a weekend spent there, eating buttered popcorn and homemade fudge on the sofa, watching “The Love Boat” and “Fantasy Island” and “The Benny Hill Show.” Mom loved Benny Hill. Someone pointed out that, in hindsight, maybe “Benny Hill” wasn’t the most appropriate television show for children. Too late. At bedtime the kids slept wherever, one on the sofa, another on the loveseat, someone sprawled on the floor; and the next morning, Grandma made them the kind of breakfast their mothers seldom did. Inevitably, come Sunday night, some child developed an illness of an uncertain but potentially fatal nature that precluded going to school Monday morning.

THESE PEOPLE USED TO BE ABLE TO SIT TOGETHER ON THIS STONE BENCH. NOW, NOT SO MUCH.

THESE PEOPLE USED TO BE ABLE TO SIT TOGETHER ON THIS STONE BENCH. NOW, NOT SO MUCH.

So that’s about it. We sat outside until it got dark, while the kids ran around the house in circles. We cleaned up and carted out the table and chairs. Gina left a nice note for the new homeowners and signed it “The Family of Luella.” Those who are inclined to shed tears did. We got in our cars, and we went home.

The people who bought it are real nice.

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4 Responses to Mama’s House

  1. Jessica says:

    Wow! Real tears now. She will be missed.
    Jess

    Like

  2. I love this post. You’re writing always moves me! It reminded me of a song I sang in choir – here’s a youtube of it.

    Like

  3. Judy says:

    This is beautiful! I loved it.

    Like

  4. Gina says:

    I love the picture of grandma!

    Like

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