Home, A Partial and Evolving History

Through my kitchen window I am watching a hummingbird drink from the feeder I just refilled after we've been away for several weeks. I'm thrilled to see him on this late November morning and it reminds me how happy I am to be home, especially as the holiday season is beginning. My father always said after a family trip, "It is wonderful to go away and it is wonderful to come home." I agree completely.

Home. I've made many places my home through the years, moving so many times it is difficult to keep track. I spent my first 18 years in the same house in Sioux Falls, then moved on to Istanbul, Boston, Missoula, London, San Francisco, Seattle, Vancouver and now back to Seattle. In each place, I've moved between multiple addresses. With each move I shed piles of stuff but my dedicated friends would groan to move my library yet again. But one year ago, Christian and I moved into this house and I thought to myself, we just might be here for a while.

One afternoon this past summer, the doorbell rang. A couple named Richard and Joan introduced themselves as previous owners of this house. We invited them in and they walked through telling us about raising their two children here over eighteen years beginning in 1964, how they'd loved the garden and how the house had changed since then. They also casually mentioned a resident ghost, a fire, and a few tragedies that had occurred here. They assured me it was a friendly ghost and that they themselves had spent the happiest years of their lives here. Joan promised to send me some documents she had on the house, including photographs and a profile on the yard in Sunset Magazine in the 60's. And she did.

Our house was built in 1906 and was one of two houses on the street. For many years it was called the Crockett House after the first family who lived here. Mildred Crockett grew up in the house and later lived here with her own family. She was a teacher who apparently always had her class sing Davey Crockett before class. She was also a poet and I have tracked down her book Westward Trek published in 1942 at the Central Library's Seattle Collection, which I can hardly wait to read. The wall in the front garden was built with bricks from the old Meany Hall on campus at the University of Washington. And our little family room was converted from a single car garage. It was such fun to look at their family photographs she included to show me the interior of the house when they lived here and how different it looked then.

Now the history of the house evolves with us and the happy memories we make here. One of the best things about our home is that we have a guest room, the first time in my adult life I have a room for family and friends to sleep comfortably. In the past year, we have tried to make up for lost time and have enjoyed hosting many visitors. I leave out a guest book for people to sign and it is a pleasure to flip through the pages to remember each special visit. With each house guest, each dinner party, each holiday and every normal day the history of our home continues to unfold.

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