Today my brother will drive to Macon and sign the papers that will turn our childhood home over to people we do not know. This happens tens of thousands of times a day in this country. In most cases the seller would be happy and in some maybe not so much.
I don’t know if the new owners have children or if they are young or old. I wonder if the mortar and brick and the sheetrock and paint have absorbed the emotions, happy and sad, of the fifty years that our family lived and died within those walls. I wonder when they walk from room to room if they smile and don’t know why.
There is know way for them to know that the natural gas hook up in the corner of the den was the preplanning of the young couple that built that house. In 1973 when the freak blizzard in February dropped eighteen inches of snow over night in Macon, a young couple and their four small children were cuddled up and cozy in one room with a space heater while the rest of the area shivered for days with no electricity to power their furnaces.
I wonder if they have figured out what the hot and cold water supply is doing on the back porch in the middle of a brick wall. Will they ever guess that the young couple had a shower on the back porch so their two wild boys could strip down and wash the red Georgia clay off before they came inside the house.
They could never know that young ladies of dating age were sitting, ready and waiting, in their rooms upstairs while the father sat and stared without blinking or speaking at the sixteen year old boys who have come to take his daughters out on a date. Only after he was satisfied they had suffered enough would he take them to the bottom of the steps and call his daughters down (the younger brothers enjoyed watching this routine immensely).
Could the new owners ever know that at the porch window a young mother sat sewing clothes for her children wearing a tape measure and belt around her neck. The tape measure was for obvious reasons…the belt was to remind her boys there was no running in the house, which she could do without looking up or missing a stitch. I think she could take a fly out in midair and never look up.
And how could the new owners know that fifty years later one of those wild boys carried the lifeless bodies of that young couple out of that front door. They could never know any of these things…it’s just a house.