This post has been a long time coming. I’ve actually written about a dozen versions of it in my head over the last month. But how do I even begin to tell the story of something that’s been there for as long as I can remember? She’s seen most of my fondest memories. And many of my sadder ones, too. She’s truly a member of the family and always will be. And not one person from my past has been unaffected by the news that she won’t be around anymore.
Yes, I am talking about a house. A home really. My parents are moving out of my childhood home. Today is their last day. Our last day. We’re all very excited about the change and working hard to make the transition as smooth and as seamless as possible. Still, it’s hard to say goodbye to something that’s been in our lives for so many decades.
The house has been in my family since early 1977. Let’s try to put that into perspective.
- Jimmy Carter was elected President.
- Elvis Presley was alive (but would die later that year).
- France was still executing by guillotine.
- The World Trade Center construction was just completed.
- Movies like Star Wars, Annie Hall, Rocky & Saturday Night Fever were playing in theaters.
But those are the world’s memories. I was just a wee pup when we moved into the house. I’ve got lots of my own.
(screen goes blurry, sound of harps playing)
My father designed our house. Much in the style of the Swiss chalet he and my mother had come to love. Together, they found a spacious lot on a cul-de-sac in a brand new neighborhood called Tall Timbers. The area previously was completely undeveloped and all of the houses were just going up. Since living there, the amount of raccoons, rabbits, squirrels, possum, armadillos, snakes and so on that my father and brother had to learn to wrangle was innumerable.
Just another day in the life of our cat, Sodapop. (Yes, she was named for The Outsiders.)
Of course, we had contractors, builders, plumbers, electricians and everyone it takes to build a dream house. But my dad also did a lot of the work himself with his own two hands. I can still remember being a small child and holding up every vertical piece of the railing for him … there must have been fifty or sixty … as he nailed them to the giant beam across the balcony.
My parents, both of whom had full-time jobs, worked their asses off to get us in to that house. We were living in a crappy apartment complex (where my only real memory was getting pink eye) and it was more than time to go.
The first few nights we slept in the house we didn’t even have furniture there yet. We all just slept on sleeping bags on the floor of the den together. It was a big, beautiful house and it would take a while to complete and furnish lovingly. And nothing … from drapery to flooring to wallpaper to fixtures … was taken lightly. Some of it even managed to stick around for the entire 36 year run.
Anyone remember where this most unique wallpaper hung?
Of course, with this kind of attention to detail construction and decorating, you would think that the house was a museum. Right? You would think that my brother and I were stymied in our ability to really live within its walls.
But you’d be wrong.
Take a look at what they let me do with my room.
And, when that wasn’t enough, I toilet papered the whole thing for a few weeks.
But my youthful antics weren’t confined to my own room. As I flipped through old pictures I found while cleaning out the house, I found proof of party after party they actually allowed me to have in their beautiful home … as a teenager. And they were all a lot of fun but the one that takes the cake was when we hired a band to play in the driveway. My parents were way cooler than I can EVER hope to be.
Thanks to Facebook, I recently tracked down the drummer (my old friend, Bill) to send him the audio cassettes I made of the show that night.
After leaving for college, I just kept coming back. It was always such a warm and welcoming place to be.
My parents are turning over the keys tomorrow so today … well, it was hard. It was just my dad and me, puttering around that empty, dark house. I watched him move from room to room, still fixing things, still making improvements. They just don’t make houses like they used to. People either. The immaculate condition in which my parents provided their baby to the new owners is a testament to who they are.
Thanks, Mom and Dad. For absolutely all of it.
The family who called 3850 Red Cypress Drive “home” (1977-2013)
Taken April 29, 2013
And one more thing, we did something a little silly during our photo session yesterday. The earliest picture we have of the house was in 1976, near the end of its construction with my Dad and brother. Yesterday, we recreated it. ‘Cause we’re a funny, little family.
Right now, wherever you are, will everyone please join me in raising a glass to 3850 Red Cypress Drive?
She was a wonderful place to live, to grow and to be.
* * * * * * * * * *
Old friends, have any memories you want to share? I’d love to hear them.
New friends, welcome to my childhood.
Whoever is last to leave, please lock up on your way out.
Oh my God. That so made me cry. 77 was a good year wasn’t it. How are they doing with it all? Please give them our best. Will they go far?…. no,no,no?
Never fear, Wy. They will actually be a little closer to me than they were before. With no pesky river between us. 🙂
Last year, my mom sold and moved from our small family farm and the house we all built together when I was in my teens — My parents, some family friends and me. That was hard, but we really like the people who bought it. My mom made it easy for them because it was important to her that the house and farm went to the right people. But I remember moving things out and the final day we could call it a family home. My kids grew up spending holidays and weekends there, so it was hard for them too. Like you said: a home becomes as much a part of your family as brothers, sisters or pets. I know how you feel 🙂
Um. right in the feels with this one. When I was growing up we were faced with a lot of money issues that meant we might have had to move; thankfully it all worked out and my parents also still live in the home my father built from the ground up 27years ago. (and brought me home to)…i still get emotional about leaving “home”…we are moving out of the house we brought our son home to…it’ll be a hard day.
i feel it for you.
So sad, but what a lovely post.
Such a heartfelt post. I teared up reading it. Such a beautiful home, with equally beautiful memories. =) Here’s to you, 3850 Red Cypress Drive. Cheers.<3
This is a gorgeous post, I am sitting here all teary eyed for you.
RAISING MY GLASS!!
I helped my mom move out of the house that I had grown up in, in 1999. My dad had died suddenly in 1996, she had kept the house in the town I grew up in for almost 4 years, but she had a new fiance(My now amazing step dad), she had a new job in a new town (about an hour away).
it took us about a month and a half to really rid that gorgeous colonial (with a FULL ATTIC and FULL basement) of all our “STUFF”. I cried for months whenever I would think of that last day, that last bag of garbage at the curb.
so my heart is with yours…it is HARD, it is EMOTIONAL and it should be. As long as your memories are happy and comforting of that place, those people, it will be a sentimental outpouring.
when I go back (not often ) to that town, I always drive into the private lane, to pass our house…because even after all these years, it’s still “Our house”.
I am grieving with you 😦 From the sleepovers, watching movies in the den, running away (or chasing????) from Jeff upstairs, racy bathroom wallpaper, my great, sombrero-filled kitchen shower, seeing our kids in the house, celebrating any number of birthdays at the kitchen table….I am sooooooooo sad. I am especially sad for your dad of course, as the kindred architect/engineer spirit that we share grieves as well. The house was designed with a loving, close family at the heart of it, and that’s not going anywhere. She will provide all of these great memories and more in the future for other families. You are lucky to have had a, basically, single and lovely childhood home to cherish. Thanks for making me a part of your Red Cypress memories!
That was beautiful, Michele. The post, the house, your memories…your family…all of it. Thank you for you sharing. Here’s to building memories in the next house!
P.S. 1977 was the BEST year ever!
I know how you feel. It’s hard to finally leave your childhood home, especially when it’s your parents who are finally leaving. I hope you can make some great new memories in their new house, maybe the next great thing will be when your children get married and start families of their own. Good Luck to you all!
I will absolutely join you in that toast !! You, Jeff, and your whole family were indispensable to the move. Thank you for that and for this beautiful tribute.
I did not realize they built it based on a swiss chalet but I remember thinking it looked like one when I was a kid. Plus it was really cool that my friend and my teacher lived there. Cheers!
It was a beautiful house and it was always really cool to me that my friend and my teacher lived there. Cheers!
Thanks for sharing this. I was just talking with my pops about how you rarely see people stay in their original homes they buy. Their “dream homes.” I got all teary reading this. I hope the next family that moves in cherishes the home as much as you all did. I LOVE the picture of your dad and brother. That is fantastic. However, I’m pretty sure you some how got the picture of your room from me. Mine looked exactly like that. Love it.
You just had to make me all misty eyed didn’t you. What a great read. I know how sentimental one can get over something like this. When my Nanie passed in 2006, it killed me to think I would never see this house or have those memories again. I grew up in that house basically. So I ended up buying the house from my mom. Now my daughter gets to grow up where I spent a majority of my life.
That’s awesome. I’m so glad you were able to do that. For everyone’s sake. 🙂
Girl, that made me cry. That’s how I feel about my childhood home.
Sounds like a great life. There will be a lot of positive energy in that house to help out the new owners. Recreating the picture was brilliant.
a very nice read… may your parents enjoy where their next journey takes them….. I am sure that there will be plenty of memories to be made at a new location…
-Salute’- 3850 Red Cypress Drive! Your post brought tears to my eyes! Whenever I am back in CT, I make it a point to drive by my childhood home: 35 September Lane. Even though it has been 10+ years, as soon as the car turns onto the street all the sweet memories come flooding back. I can stand there and stare at that house for hours however the homeowners probably do not appreciate it as much! Hugs Michele! 🙂
Coffee cup is raised high to 3850 Red Cypress drive. You are lucky to have a childhood home. My family moved so much that I don’t have a single place with those memories. My memories are scattered between four states and many more than four houses. I have always been envious of Kenny to be able to tell the kids which room he slept in with his brother, or which house down the street belongs to a friend he has had since kindergarten. cheers to your childhood home!
Lovely post. It’s hard to move on, but sometimes it’s necessary. Thanks for sharing your memories with all of us.
Okay I have PMS because this really shouldn’t have brought tears to my eyes, should it? I don’t know. It was soooooo sweet. The recreation did it. As for your room wall, I had that MJ poster on my wall. He was so cute then. As for the man in the bikini, looks familiar like I would have looked at it in a store someone back in the day giggling with a girlfriend. No way could I have brought it home. 😉 TALU
I love this – especially that the house they so lovingly created for your family was truly a home filled with memories throughout the years. Everyone needs to have that place where they can go back to for comfort, love, and just have a good ol’ time! Beautiful! ~TALU~
A magnificent tribute. Thank you for sharing this!
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A year?!?! That is CRAZY! I’m so glad all is well and everyone got moved in and settled!! 🙂
Michele, this is so sweet, it made me cry. Love all the pictures. You have the cutest family, and your wedding photo…beautiful. Your bedroom wall cracked me up; looks like the one I had. Just chock full of posters. Aw yeah – I see Rick! And I had the same Duran poster. Swoon.
Thanks, Linda. Something tells me that our rooms probably looked a lot alike. (P.S. All of those posters were in constant rotation with new ones. Unfortunately, I only captured a few moments in time back then.)
After a third reading, I still smiled and teared up!!! How blessed we must be! We had such a happy home for so many years. Of course there were sad times, too – some VERY sad – but the warmth and love within those walls always provided comfort and hope. I thank my family, and I thank God for everything.