The Closing

Old World Charm

“Your parents must have been very meticulous people,” she said as she looked down to inspect her neatly polished nails. The color of her nails matched the pink of her blouse. Seeing all this cleanliness and watching her bracelets bangle about made me wonder if she would keep up the garden.

“Yes, they were,” I said. What I pictured her to look like was very different from what I saw sitting across from me on the other side of the table. I remembered how the realtor said that she called him right away after the sign went up in the yard. She went to the first open house three times. First she visited by herself, and then she escorted different people around two other times. She called the realtor the following Tuesday to have a look again, went to the second open house with more visitors, and during the inspection, the realtor wondered if the report that the air conditioning wasn’t working properly was just a ruse for her to go show off the house again. I pictured her to be some sort of a neurotic person with all this fuss, but during the closing she was calm, happy and looked to be excited to move into her new home.

View from the Back Yard

“They were very neat, and managed to keep every piece of paper,” I said. This caused a chuckle amongst the group. Now that I had made it through the signing of the papers without getting emotional, I wanted to keep it that way. I opened up a packet of warranties and manuals that I had dug out of a box earlier that morning.

“. . . that you now have and are cleaning up,” our realtor finished my thought. I nodded in agreement, and leafed through the packet and explained some of the papers.

“How long did your Mom live there?” Mr. New Owner asked.

“60 years?” I said as I turned to look at my brother.

“Since 1950,” he said.

“That’s 62 years,” the other realtor said.

“Do you know how many people lived in the house before your parents lived there?” Mr. New Owner asked.

“Our Grandpa owned the house since the beginning, since 1927, and rented it out to a couple of families before our Mom and Dad bought it,” said my brother.

“That’s amazing,” said Mr. New Owner.

“Are those cupboards in the garage and in the basement the original kitchen cupboards?” Mrs. New Owner asked.

“Yes,” I said. For a minute I felt like she knew the house better than I did.

Mr. and Mrs. talked about how their children and siblings live close by and how the new lady of the house had been looking for a home on the south side of town, but then ended up on the north side. I wondered if she fell in love with the house right away. I remembered back to the time when I found the house where my family lives now. I knew it was going to be our house the minute I stepped inside.

I imagined that first time she walked into the first open house and saw the beautiful dark woodwork and the gorgeous chandelier in the living room that she fell for what our realtor called “Old World Charm.” Some things had been updated and remodeled over the years, but the house definitely has kept its Old World Charm.

As we turned over the keys to the outside doors and the many skeleton keys to the original doors inside the house, we admitted that we didn’t know which skeleton keys belonged to which doors. We also gave them the key to those old radiators that sometimes creak when the heat comes on.

I shook the hand of Mr. New Owner, and told him that I hoped they would be very happy there.

As my brother and I walked back to the car, I was sad but I also felt relieved. I knew I would miss our house since I knew it my entire life and we had so much family history there, but I was relieved that we didn’t have to worry about it any longer. We didn’t have to worry that it was just sitting there empty and all by itself. We didn’t have to worry that someone might vandalize it. We didn’t have to worry about the weeds that grew three feet from one Saturday to the next. We didn’t have to worry about making sure the bills got paid on a house where no one lived. I also knew that I didn’t have to worry about the new owners keeping up the house because they seemed to be very nice and meticulous people, just like the folks who used to live there.

Dad, Mom & Me

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9 thoughts on “The Closing

  1. That must have been a very emotional day for you Mary Ann. it was beautifully written. We own the house my grandmother, then my mother owned. Right now we rent it out but I know the day will come when we can afford to sell it and then I imagine I will have mixed emotions about it.

    I hope it’s close by so you can drive by on occasion and treasure those memories. 🙂

  2. Very nice story, Mary Ann. Loved the pictures too!! You will always cherish the memories you had there and have peace knowing that the new owners will take very good care of the house and create their memories there too.

    • All of this is such a process to go through, but it helps knowing that the new owners will take care of the house and create new memories. It’s hard to let go sometimes, even if it’s for the best. Thanks for your comments!

  3. Congrats on selling so soon. It is hard to walk out and know you won’t be back but the memories
    can not be erased. All those wonderful family holidays and birthdays and just regular days in the family house can be relived in your mind and through picts. and stories whenever you want.
    Love that you added the picts. I always loved your Dad and Mom-they were so sweet and I love that they would come to the farm and visit. We must get together sometime and drive around Lake Pepin and visit Lake City….maybe sometime this fall. You do a wonderful job at your writing-keep it up. love, deb

    • You are sweet too!

      Yes, we were very lucky to sell the house so soon especially in this market. I think someone was watching out for us:-).

      I would love to stop by for a visit after we get two kids off to college – YIKES!!! Let’s plan a date in September or October. I’ll “in-box” you!

      Yes, I was proud of how Mom and Dad were always visiting relatives or friends.

      Thanks for all your encouragement!!!

      Love ya!

  4. It’s so hard to say goodbye to a place that hosted a lifetime of memories. But it sounds like a very worthy family is taking over now, and you’ll always have your memories.

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