My parents built a little house in the woods in 1972. They knew they wanted to get away from the bakery and wanted a nice little house to retire in. They bought a lot in the woods and that summer the preparations began in earnest…I can still see my parents gleefully clearing trees, dreaming about where the house was going to be and how it was going to look.
They looked at various plans…we drove to different open houses of builders and they finally decided on a chalet type house. Two floors with a ground floor, back deck, two small balconies at each of the second floor bedrooms and the siding of wood composite.
Once the building process started, my father would insist on going there every night to check on the progress. He knew his wood and he know how it was supposed to come together…and believe me, there were many days that he wasn’t happy! I still remember the day that the builders put the outdoor steps as the steps from the ground floor to the first floor.
We would pack a picnic every day to have our dinner out there so he could check it out.
When it came time to choose the inside, my mother wanted a blue kitchen(she had a collection of the Bing and Grondahl Christmas plates that she planned to have on the wall). The cabinets were made down in Lancaster, PA by a company that employed only Amish and Mennonite carpenters. It was a beautiful kitchen.
Burnt orange shag carpet and a burnt orange metal fireplace on the one end of the house and a black woodstove at the other end…it screamed the 1970s!
After the house was built, we would be there every weekend and go back to the bakery for the week. My parents were happier than they had been for years…it felt like a mini vacation every weekend and it got harder and harder to leave…even the dog hated to go back!
Two years later, my dad developed phlebitis and needed a period of rest. We stayed at the house during his recovery period and after that incident, they decided it was time to semi retire. Eventually they sold the bakery and moved to the little house in the woods full time.
In 1998 my parents needed help and my daughter and I moved in with them so that I could be their caregiver 24/7.(my mother had gotten a stroke and my father couldn’t take care of her). She and I stayed there for 6 years…(my husband and cat were still at our own home just 3 miles away…not a good scenario by any stretch of the imagination).
To my daughter, that was her “home” for her whole life but after my parents were both gone…the house unfortunately had to be sold. If there had been any way I could have kept it at that point in time, I would have.
The new owner had completely changed it…bright yellow siding, tore down the balconies and added a piece to the upstairs. In a way it helped to ease the pain because it didn’t look like “our” house anymore.
A client of mine lives on that street and every two weeks I pass it. Two weeks ago I realized that it had a “for Sale” sign on it…I texted my daughter and immediately she checked it online and sent me a link for the inside pictures.
The blue kitchen has now become dark brown with granite countertops…it is also much larger(we can’t figure out how that happened other than knocking down a wall…). Dark brown wood floors, white walls everywhere, brown leather and dark brown everything else…even the bathrooms are dark brown.
After 11 years, the wounds had opened up for both of us once again but as my daughter remarked that evening, “I realized that it wasn’t my home anymore and that Mommom and Baba aren’t there either.”
When I was de-cluttering last week, I found the original building plans for the house…so one day if my daughter has the way and the means to do so, she could build her own home in the woods and hopefully there will be room for me to visit.
til next time…Eva