Gina was my mother's dear friend and neighbor. She's an amazing person and was a dear friend to my mom as she grew older. It was a very mutual relationship, though we saw Gina as an angel, checking on our mom. So when we decided to stop over for a short visit I said,
"Kris, I want to see my mom's house." Kris agreed, "Okay, but I'm not going inside Gram's house yet, I just want to take Ethan's picture on the porch" She wasn't ready, but I was! It was time to go back to the house where I had lived half of my childhood, and where both my parents had lived their lives till they both died. We had moved from Phila. to North Hills when I was in the 6th grade. In those days, moving from the large 3 story, 5 bedroom row house in Germantown to this tiny bungalow in the suburbs, was quite a step-up for my parents.
I tried to take it all in as we drove up Central Ave. The grass was full of that creeping ground-cover weed with the tiny lovely purple flowers. Dad, being particular about the grass would be rolling in his grave, for sure. Kris whipped into the driveway that Sat. morning in April.... We always came in the back door.
"Hello Kristen! This isn't our house anymore, back the car up!!" We both started to laugh, it was just a reflex, she had done it hundreds of times, being close to Mom and living in Newark, she often came to visit. We were both a tad nervous, Baby Ethan was getting hungry too. Immediately a truck pulled up, and we were obviously blocking the driveway! I jumped out and approached the truck.
"Is this your house, do you need to get in?" she nodded yes as I introduced myself. "I grew up in this house..." the lump rose in my throat, oh dear, I thought, God don't let me cry or act sappy with this stranger!! Wendy was a pretty young woman dressed in jeans.
"Oh please come inside?" she asked tenderly. I ran back to the car to tell Kris, but she reminded me she wasn't taking the tour. Walking into the house, tears filled my eyes, not with sadness, but with memories of times long ago .....so much had happened within those walls. Wendy took me from room to room, nothing was the same but I was so touched by her sweet spirit. I walked through the house slowly envisioning the past and enjoying being in Wendy's home with "her" things. Her grandmother's piano sat in my parents bedroom, she had taken it to Colorado and back. I liked this girl and I knew my parents would too.
"When I first moved here, the man across the street told me this house was blessed!" she said she believed that was true. I nodded, she no idea, but maybe she did. We laughed and talked like old friends.
When she left the room for a minute, her quiet fiance, probably a bit uncomfortable with all the emotion, finally blurted out, "She doesn't want to tell you...but she's selling the house!!!" They were getting married and she was moving upstate. Yes of course that was a wise plan to lessen the separation until then. At first I thought she just loved the house, but I noticed she seemed to have a strange connection to my childhood home. I wished them well, but Wendy was quick to say selling the house was troubling, she wanted the "right person" to live there. We hugged good-bye, I wished her well and we took a picture of our baby Ethan on the front steps.
The house finally fell into the hands of the "right person" Mark, Gina's son. When we returned sometime later, Gina gave us the grand tour. I mentioned I had met the former owner and liked her. "Hmmmm" Gina replied thoughtfully, "Mark thought she was a little crazy." "Really...I liked her." I said wondering.
She told Mark, "This house was haunted by the couple that lived here! But don't worry, their daughter came to visit and when she left, they went with her!" We all laughed for a long time.
But I wonder about the soul of my old home, where so much life was lived; and the sweet girl who somehow felt the presence of my parents.