Friday, May 8, 2009

These Old Houses

So, I'm having to have all the plumbing in my house re-done. When I moved in 20 years ago, I failed to notice that it had that crummy Quest (plastic) plumbing. I also failed to notice that a class-action law suit had been filed two years before I moved in against them for their leaking plumbing.

So, for 20 years, I've been plugging the dyke, one leak at a time, cause insurance won't cover replacement. Finally, though, after three major leaks this year, my plumber said, "So, are you going to wait til the ceiling falls in to fix this stuff?"

Then, I go through my self-recrimination ritual of, "I never should have bought this house--I shouldn't even be in a house--I hate maintenance, yard work, etc., whatever possessed me in the first place??? I've got to get out of here!!"

Then I look around my house and remember how much I love old houses. The stories they hold, the families they knew, the lives and deaths they witness. When we were about to close on this house, I was sitting in my daughter's room on her new bed imagining all the history that came before us--were there children, were people happy? And then I imagined all the history we would bring to the house. And that we did. Weddings, births, divorce, coming of age ceremonies, tears, laughter, the animal graveyard (Duncan, my golden running buddy; Amy, my angel cat; Zac, the flat-faced Persian that Leslie wrote funny poetry about; the bird Zac ate, gerbils, etc.). We have LIVED in that house.

I don't know how I will be able to leave this house. At one point I really wanted to pass it on to my daughters, like families used to do. That doesn't happen anymore. Staying in a house as long as I have is almost aberrant now.

So, what does this have to do with Promise House? Well, we have an Old House--the original PH, which is now Wesley Inn, our group home for homeless young mothers and their children. It is a money pit, just like my house. It is drafty, creaky, needs constant repair and maintenance, etc., etc. The expedient thing to do would be to tear it down and build a modern structure.

But that is our HOME. And it is homey, and cozy, and has character, and has history, and has stories to tell. How can we demolish that?? It has a soul and a heart--it was the heart of Promise House for many years.

I can't do it. It hurts just to think about it.

1 comment:

  1. I love that house. I remember thinking that the staircase up to the attic was the coolest thing I ever saw. And remember when I made the shed out back into a clubhouse?