Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Caveat Emptor

Inspired by Searching for our Silver Lining's post about putting her home on the market.


Caveat emptor:

You will need to check the raspberries in early July.  I know the bushes are prickly, but please pick them daily; don't let the birds get those two quarts.  I worked too hard for that, pruning the canes each year, the tiny thorns stuck in my skin. I have a recipe for fresh raspberry pie if you need it.

About the hydrangeas.  I know they look dead right now.  They've come and gone these ten years (we coaxed them to bloom the first year we moved in); perhaps they're in mourning for us.  They came too early this year, with the warm spring, and were taken by surprise by the cold snap in March.  You might want to leave them be, in case they come around in the end.

I know that you're planning to live mostly on one floor, but I hope you'll take a shower upstairs every once in a while, where you can look out the window and see the barn bathed in early morning sunlight. I'll make sure it sparkles for you before we leave.

I hope you don't mind my forwardness, but the best place for your couch is near the window in the living room.  The breezes are calming at night, and you'll be able to look outside, sitting sideways, and hear the sounds of people enjoying summer at the pool. If you're not feeling well, the sounds will lull you to sleep.

Are you bringing some chairs for the front porch? It's the best place to watch thunderstorms and the 5K races on Thanksgiving and in June. I recommend a rocking chair.  It's an old porch.

While we're on the subject of porches: please plan to buy at least ten bags of candy for Halloween.  There will be about 300 children who come to your door, and I don't want to disappoint them.

I hope you like the neighbors.  Feel free to ask to borrow an egg or some aluminum foil, like we did on the day we moved in. Maybe they'll tell you about the time I won an ice cream block party from Edy's for an essay I wrote about my community, and we all sat out under the tree between your driveway and your neighbors' driveway, with tubs and tubs of ice cream they shipped to us in styrofoam containers with dry ice.

And one last thing: there may be ghosts.  They're quiet, mostly, but you may hear them at night, unfulfilled dreams, children that never saw this world.  Be kind to them.  Speak softly to them.  They shouldn't trouble you; they're looking for me.  You can tell them where we've gone.

Take care of this home, with its patches in the drywall, with its spiders in the basement, with its letters scratched in the concrete foundation. It's been here a long time.  I promise it will take care of you.

with love,

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  1. And now I'm crying. Particularly about that last part.

  2. Oh my goodness. Justine. This is just absolutely beautiful. I just...there aren't words for how this touched my heart and made me cry. This is the most beautiful and sad and wonderful piece I have read maybe ever. (((Hugs)))

  3. <3 thank you both. And Cristy, I wouldn't have written it had it not been for you ... thank you.

  4. I absolutely adore this, Justine. I did something similar when we left our turn-of-the-century home many years ago. I loved it so, and I wanted the new people to love it so. I hope they ended up making each other happy.

    Raspberries and hydrangeas? I shoulda bought your house!

  5. Ah, that's beautiful. What a lovely home.

  6. Joining the chorus to say this is absolutely beautiful. I hope the house always brings you fond memories.

  7. And now I'm bawling. Damn this is gorgeous Justine.

  8. I loved this, having been in your home I can picture the whole thing even if I only experienced a small slice of it, but your ending gutted me. Maybe my emotions are on the surface today, but I burst into tears when I got to the ghosts.

  9. I hop you do leave this for the next people to live there. I would have loved that from the last owners of our house. I received detailed notes and a map of the garden when we moved. I still have them - and look out for the few things they mentioned losing in the house!

  10. Gorgeous. Just gorgeous. Thank you for this.

  11. Very beautiful. It also brought me to tears, thinking of my own house and its ghosts.


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