Leaving Home

Pine and cypress trees draped with Spanish moss, silhouettes of cows scattered across a foggy green field, shards of light breaking out in early morning hours greeted me as as I began to drive from my family’s home in North Florida back to Virginia. The ten-hour drive would give me lots of time to reflect upon leaving the home of my childhood and heading back to my own.

The past 7 days had been spent with my parents in the home they built for us in 1959, just two doors down from the home where my Dad was born. In this three bedroom, two bath house they raised their four children, welcomed four in-laws, nine grandchildren, and soon to be 10 great-grandchildren. The house is small, but outside lie a barn, a pond, vegetable gardens, trees and bushes of every variety–orange, grapefruit, tangerine, pecan, pear, fig, pomegranate, kumquat, lime, lemon, blueberry, with blackberry and grapes vines and a couple of banana trees as well. There were always stories to tell and adventures to be had, whether it was feeding the ducks at the pond or little children mashing grapes with their tiny feet in the family bathtub making wine that no one drank. Lucy and Ethel had no edge on our family!

Unfortunately, this past week was not filled with the relaxed, carefree moments of past years. The soon to be 60 year old house was broken. The new dishwasher had been installed improperly and had leaked causing damage to all the floors in the house and kitchen cabinets. My brother, Jack, had found the problem and had set up the logistics with insurance companies, people to contact, and got the ball rolling. My job was to pick up the next stage and select carpet, flooring, cabinets, knobs, counters, a new refrigerator, stove, and microwave. I also needed someone to come in and take out the old top cabinets and then dry wall the torn up concrete walls. The house was covered with cut up carpets, wires and of course pots, pans, food and other kitchen essentials. None of the needed services could be met in our little town. This meant driving to surrounding areas to get estimates, contracts, and goods. Because of my parents’ health issues, it all needed to be done quickly. 

 My parents at 85 and 89 are not in good health. Mom is legally blind, my Dad is almost crippled and they both have other health issues. They have been able to live on their own for the time- but time is of the essence. This latest venture may give them months or hopefully a few more years in the place they love. However, we know what is in the forefront of everyone’s mind. When debating about counter tops and wondering whether granite was an option the cabinet maker said, “You’ll never get your money out of that. Whoever comes in here next will just blow these walls out.” He was right. Working 6 days straight many of the decisions were made. Phase 3 will begin in a couple of weeks when my brother, Tim, and sister, Jeanne, come in for the installation. For the time being my part was finished.

Going from “home to home” is not always easy. In the last few months I have heard this expression used in another situation. A friend died and left this home on earth to his heavenly home. Friends and family said goodbyes and crammed in last minute words of love. He was leaving his home on earth surrounded by a host of family and friends. He was going home to the place he had always been heading. However, those who are left behind always want more time. We know time is of the essence, but for some reason it never seems long enough.  

It is hard for me to say good bye to someone I love or to a place that I love. Who knows what will happen to my childhood home? I hope one of my siblings would want it and then I would feel comfortable to come sit in the yard. Is that holding on and not letting go? I don’t know. I do know that the transition from one home to another is not always easy. For some people this may not be a big deal, but for me it is a very big deal.


2 thoughts on “Leaving Home

  1. Lindy, what a great article! Know this has been so hard for the entire family, but sharing all the wonderful memories you have of the McGill home is so uplifting. Thanks for sharing! Tooter

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