This House

For the first two years we lived in Pascagoula we lived in an apartment. It was behind the Longfellow House, a local place of fame. There were two two-story apartment buildings. One faced West, the other, South. Ours was in the Westward facing building, second story (13 steps), end of the building.  These apartments were built as vacation condos, not homes. There was a tiny living room, three gigantic bedrooms – each with its own bathroom – and a tiny kitchen. John Robert was very young, Nicole was in High School. We made it OK there for a few years but it was growing tiresome. We started looking in earnest for a new house in Pascagoula.

Our financial prospectus wasn’t looking very good at the time, so we had a fairly low price in mind. The kind Realtor kept showing us house after house but none of them were what we were looking for. We raised our minimum and started looking at a new level of houses. That really didn’t help either.

I honestly can’t tell you who spotted THE house first. It could have been me on my way to the office, taking a different route. It could have been Maggy. But wesaw the FOR SALE BY OWNER sign in the yard. Maggy and Lynda Lingle came over and looked in all the windows. The house was empty and immaculate. Some of it was very old fashioned but it had plenty of room and was one block from the church building. Maggy loved it.

It didn’t take long for us to move into our well-kept but old house. After the wonder of having a beautiful new home wore off a bit, we did notice several things about the house that we wish were different. Still, we were grateful to live in such a nice roomy home.

I do not think that anyone expected what would happen on August 29, 2005. Our home that we loved was flooded with a surge of seawater from Hurricane Katrina. We had from 3-4 feet of water in our home for about an hour. The apartment we lived in for the first two years was caved in … the south facing building was totally destroyed. Of course we were not here, we were at Maggy’s parents anxiously awaiting news. Danny Dodd and friends from Gateway Church of Christ in Pensacola were the first to walk in our house with us to look at the damage.

Over three years later most of the home has been renovated …. and mostly by volunteers. I wish I knew all of their names. but needless to say our home looks newer than the day we moved into it. And after a decade and a half of living within a few blocks of the Gulf of Mexico, we are moving into North Louisiana.

It was in this house that John Robert grew up running down the hall, lazing in his room, watching tv with us. It was into this house that Claire was born and spent her first nine years, growing into a beautiful young woman. Like everyone’s house it is full of memories and stories. And in a few days we will drive away from this house for the last time. This time we will not carry the keys in our pocket. Someone else will begin making their own memories here.

I wonder if the house will miss us? I wonder if it’s sighing and saying, ‘why are they leaving… I did my best‘. I wonder if that gathering moisture in the corner of the window pane is a tear.  She has given us her strength all these years. And now someone else needs her. It is time to say goodbye to this house.

Thanks for reading,

John

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