Every year I come back to my home after the renters have left certain that this year I will sell this old house. I don’t need it. I need to simplify and the housing market is hot. There’s a shortage of homes in our community and this is the best time to sell.
This is the old neighborhood where we raised the boys who flew the coop 18 years ago. I’ve logged 37 years in this house. Funny I think of myself as adventuress but not when it comes to this house.
I’ve come up with creative strategies to deal with expenses here and make it affordable. I’ve been lucky to get great renters who enjoy it when I’m not here.
It’s almost embarrassing to think that for the last 10 plus years I have solicited the advice of so many about whether to sell it. I see my friends yawning when I begin my too-ing and froo-ing on how this year I’m going to sell it!
I’m exhausting to myself on the topic. Everyone tells me sell it and then I don’t.
This spring I was so sure I would bite the bullet as the value has gone way up even though it’s on a starter street where every house has a first time home buyer.
Most of the people I know in their 60s have left this area mostly because of taxes. It’s just too expensive to live here if you don’t use the school system. That of course changed the feel of the place and made me the old lady in the hood.
When we first moved in, the lady next door, Mrs. Pincus, seemed like she was 100 years old. “Wow she is really old. I wonder who Mr. Pincus was? Does she have any kids? What’s her story?”
Mrs. Pincus lived like an invisible lady barely making a footprint in her own front yard. She was only about 90 pounds and kept her head down. One day I noticed a tattooed number on her wrist and I knew she was a Holocaust survivor. She never talked much and certainly not about the holocaust. Our little street kept an eye on her and we all took turns shoveling her walkway and checking in on her. One day they took Mrs. Pincus away in an ambulance. I don’t remember having a discussion with the kids about her but we talked about how lonely she must have been but we had no idea of course.
The house turned over and a nice young family moved in with big enthusiasm. I don’t remember what year that was but it could have been 15 years later.
“Hi, we love your house — ,” the new owners said. “We hope you don’t mind we would like to replace our fence and will be putting in a higher white one and the property line is a bit off so we will be cutting into the yard a little.”
They were the nicest people but we were worried about change — what would happen to our fence – what else were they going to do to change our footprint? We worried a bit about that – but all was well as the fence was gorgeous and we didn’t have to pay for it.
“Neighbors with benefits!” We laughed.
And then the neighbor across the street started acting out and yelling at the kids on the block. Our kids were older by then. We all were afraid of him and when he came out of his house we would walk by with our heads down, kinda of Mrs. Pincus style, to avoid any confrontation.
One day I left my garbage pails out front on my driveway for 3 extra days. When I came back from a trip the garbage pail was sitting on the roof of my car that was parked in my driveway.
I looked across the street at him and he glared at me and walked back into his house.
I always wondered if the kids in that house were safe or his wife for that matter. They moved away a year later and the whole block exhaled a collective sigh.
Little kids moved onto the street as the elders moved up and out to bigger homes. The energy was back on our little road of starter first homes all in walking distance to town.
I became a widow in this house and a short time later after my last kid left for college, my new husband came here to stay with me from time to time. He felt right at home.
The lady up the street became widowed a moment later, I never got the story and moved out 10 years later.
The heard the man across the street with the 20 something kid got divorced — and still – he kept fixing up the house and one day he brought a lovely new woman to live with him.
The lady up the street became widowed a moment later, I never got the story but the dandelions grew into a mess and paint peeled. She moved out 10 years later.
Our street was a snapshot of american life. Starter homes, new beginnings, set backs and tragedies, mental illness and isolation from a war we never lived through. New babies and and new gardens and fresh new fences .
During Covid our street became a coveted street. Walkable to everywhere, a one-way with little traffic – life moved outside onto the street. Empty nesters wanted to down size into these starter homes and young families from the city wanted to move up into them.
And here I still am 37 years later watching the cycle of life unfold. I may be the age of old Mrs. Pincus when I first moved in here 37 years old but I’m so not her. And no one is moving out. The little kids next store are heading to college and their parents aren’t budging.
And why don’t we leave? Because it’s home for now despite the tax collector banging at the door — it’s a slice of comfort and it’s ours. And when the grand kids visit they always say….”We love Nana’s house!” That’s a show stopper!