I took this photo of the living room at 2700 Oakland as I walked out for the last time before handing over the keys to the new owners. In that moment the house truly felt empty to me. Like a blank slate…a new notebook with crisp pages. It was a very strange instant, and the house felt alone; like we were abandoning it.
That house had served us well for so many years. We had worked harder this summer than I can even imagine sitting here now. Both Fred and I were motivated to leave it in as good a shape as we possibly could. It became a project that was motivated not so much by getting the best price we could for the house, but by love and respect for the house itself. On that day time was a critical part of the project. We had to be out of there by 5. There simply wasn’t time to do things like take down picture hangers and touch up paint. I worked myself up about it, and decided that it had to fall into the category of, “It is what it is.” I had gone over between the movers and the estate sale and put a major clean on the kitchen, so I felt good about that. We had time to Bona the floor on that Sunday, so that was good. But, the picture hangers were still in the walls, and there were a couple of small repairs that were going to need to be done after we were gone. (Stuff happens).
We hadn’t had an opportunity to meet the couple who bought our house. We were to meet them at the hand over of the keys. I was very pleased when we met. They are a young couple; slightly younger than I was when I moved into that house with Fred. And the thing I realized most of all was that they were falling in love with the house. They loved the back porch. They didn’t care about the picture hangers or the repairs. After we had been there a few minutes some of their relatives arrived. I could tell they were in a party mood, and excited. I also felt that they were in their brand new, perfect house, and it was time for us to leave. For the first time, I was standing in that kitchen and it wasn’t my job to pour everyone a glass of wine. But we were not leaving an empty house, we were leaving a house that would provide a brand new chapter in another couple’s life.