Once This House

Once this house was the pride and joy of a newlywed couple. A brand new house in a brand new subdivision. He did home improvement jobs and I think she would have been happy to see what he had made. The landscape started with a few scrawny trees, but over time flourished as they added more and more. She had a little scented rose garden out beside the bedroom door. They raised their two boys to be good kids, diligent students, church-going, Boy Scouts. There are little hand prints in the corner of the cement walkway.

I imagine her life here, friendly with the neighbors, spending her time volunteering at the boys’ school and church. Since he liked to hunt so much, I suppose he brought the boys up to enjoy the sport too, often spending the weekends in the mountains, bringing their prizes back to show her.

But what was it like for her when they were gone? What did she do? Who did she turn to? I like to think that she got a break from the noise and mess of raising sons. Endless laundry, cooking, and cleaning. Probably she didn’t get much help in that department. Was she lonesome? Was the house too quiet? Did she cry alone? Or maybe it wasn’t much different from other times, when they ignored her, expected things done without really thinking about how they got done. Was he mean to her? Did she have an affair?

Outside the door to the garage, there is a little pencil message saying, “I hope Mom comes home soon.” I picture a boy locked out of the house, lonely and scared. It breaks my heart. She left, one day, just walked out the door. None of the neighbors have told us why, maybe they don’t know.

We met him a few times. He seemed sad, evasive, like he just wanted away from here too. There was a portrait of the two of them hanging by the front door. I looked deep into her eyes to see if I could find a melancholy, but they just looked like your typical happy couple. I still get mail addressed to Cheryl, just a magazine subscription card or a church newsletter. Where is she?

Does your house have stories?

I read too much.


Anonymous said...


When I opened your blog today for some reason or another the pictures didn't show on my computer. So as I read, I thought at first that your blog was a portion of a book you may have read. As I read on it hit me that this was actually the story of your house. Needless to say I was very impressed, your blog was well written. Have you ever considered writting a longer story before?


Anonymous said...


The story of your house breaks my heart. I am feeling so sad right now. I could relate to a lot of the things you wrote, but to just walk away, that blows me away. She must have been so unhappy. Now I'm wondering if you will ever find out.

You really should think about writing short stories. As Jeremy says, your writing on this one was so impressive. Great job.

Love Mom

Nessie Noodle said...

oh this is such a wonderful post.
I often wonder about the people who had our house before us and the energy that they left behind in it. What was with the crazy paint on all the walls and why did they put in a pond in a neighborhood where the drainage was so bad...

questions, questions...

Tina Vega said...

Oh, that makes me so sad too! I love your question though, what stories could your house tell... it would make for a very cool scrapbooking page!

Princess said...

I am having such a good time reading your website. I love it. I love the story about your house, its so true houses have alot of memories. I'm learning alot of wonderful things about you. I want to throw a pizza, I think I will soon. I plan to be at book club. See you there.
Lori Nauman