By Mims Cushing
The word of the day seems to be “downsize.” Everybody’s doing it. My house, which seemed to be a good size, suddenly, overnight, became too big for me. So I went on a quest and found the perfect home, less than half the size, about a mile-and-a half away, and I moved.
I had lived in my home since 1991. A lot happened in 25 years. The night we moved in, it was past midnight when I sat down on the toilet bowl and something jumped up and smacked my rear end, an ample target. It was a medium-sized frog, which had been snoozing in my bowl, I guess. I must have jumped a foot.
I had parties and sheltered visitors often. I’ll never forget changing the sheets in the guest bedroom and finding a pair of boxers. What do you do? Return them to the owner? Once, when friends came over for an impromptu dinner, I was in a wheelchair back then and was wearing palazzo pants that became caught in the spokes. It was hilarious watching them untangle me. Luckily I didn’t have to climb out of the pants.
One Easter I hid chocolates all ‘round the yard and when the grandkids gathered them they found little bugs had crawled under the tinfoil so they had to be thrown out. I understand we’ll all be eating bugs for protein soon.
I thought about everything in the past 25 years: The Good: my daughter handed me my beautiful granddaughters, my son found the perfect lady friend, the perfect job and the perfect Wheaten terrier. The Bad: the real estate market is not in great shape and despite heroic efforts by my Realtor, the house had few showings from January to August when it finally closed. You hear about miracles — that a house is on the market and sells in a day — but most people have to wait a while. A friend’s house in Connecticut spent two years languishing before selling. Another friend’s house is still on the market after four years and it’s a dream home.
And the Ugly: Surgeries… A divorce… parents’ passing…
A few days before the closing, on the hottest day of the summer, with the heat index above 110, 20 huge empty boxes were discovered in the garage attic. I had never gone up there. Over the years my former husband had insisted on saving huge TV, computer and printer boxes. It wasn’t fun, in the blazing heat, to go up, toss them down the attic stairs, cut up those cardboard boxes, then drag them to the curb. Also found three huge boxes of old checks, statements and old legal paper, going back 25 years. One hundred and seven pounds of paper in all had to be shredded. I’d shredded 100 pounds a year earlier. Glad I didn’t get heat stroke before the close.
As I wandered around, I was surprisingly not wistful or unhappy about leaving. How sad to mourn when you say goodbye to a place you’ve loved for decades. It’s not easy to have a smooth transition from one home to the next. Just hold tight to your happy memories and you’ll survive.
Mims (Marguerite) Cushing came to Florida from Connecticut in 1991. She has been a professional writer for more than 35 years, writing features for her hometown paper in Stamford, and also for a dozen local and national magazines. After moving to Northeast Florida she wrote book reviews for the Florida Times-Union and a lifestyle column for the Ponte Vedra Recorder. Her books have won awards from the Florida Writers Association and she has taught creative writing to children and adults. An avid reader, Cushing enjoys being the “librarian” of the Players Club Senior Center and singing with Singers by the Sea.