Friday, March 14, 2014

#14 of 31 Slice of Life...Letter to the Future Owners of our Home

Thank you to the Two Writing Teachers for hosting the Slice of Life Story Challenge.

Back in October, when we first listed our house, our realtor (and friend) asked me to write a letter to the future owners of our house.  He wanted me to tell why our house is special.  As much as I love to write, I couldn't do it.  I was too sad.  Well, I got an email tonight, asking for the letter again.  I'm in a better place, so I sat down and shared my heart with the people who will buy our house.  It's a little long for a SOL, but I hope you'll indulge me.

Dear Future Owners,

I remember when we bought this land from the Jermans.  It was 5 acres of cornfields with not one tree on our lot.   The Jermans told us the first rule of living out here is that you always wave to anyone driving by.  People out here are friendly and watch out for each other.  It’s one of the things that we love about living here.

We have so many beautiful memories.  Our children were ages 10, 5 and 3 when we moved in.  Our home was filled with love from the start.  It was always a great gathering place for family and friends.  You will find that it’s quite inviting for the kids to run “the circle” from the family room to the living room to the dining room again and again.  It was a favorite when the cousins were visiting. 

Of course the kitchen was a favorite spot.  Our kids grew up cooking beside me. On any given day, the kitchen was filled with the aroma of chocolate chip cookies or some concoction that our son created.  He is the master of chopping and sautéing and seeing what comes out.  Mother’s Day breakfasts were created here ~ blueberry pancakes every year.  We’ve experimented with foods from other cultures.  One of my best memories is making a traditional Indian meal when we hosted a foreign exchange student from Pune, India.  As we sat down at the table, she suggested we eat with our fingers like she did “back home.”  We were a mess, but we laughed and had so much fun together. 

The sun shines brightly into the dining room in the morning.  To me, there is nothing better than getting up before anyone else and enjoying a cup of tea while watching the sunrise.  As you look at our house, you’ll notice that the dining room table is quite scarred.  Each scar and bit of glitter or paint holds a story.  We dyed Easter eggs here every year.  This was also the spot where we strung popcorn or made homemade Christmas ornaments for the tree.  We iced cookies hundreds of times, and gathered friends and family for dinners, holidays, First Communions, birthday parties, and graduations.  It’s also where we gathered every night for dinner and played the high/low game.  We were able to stay connected with our kids as we shared the highs and lows of our day. 

The living room is a quiet, cozy retreat, especially in the winter with the fireplace going.  It was the perfect place to snuggle on the couch and read stories when the kids were little.  It’s also a great place for building forts out of chairs and blankets and eating picnic lunches under cover.  We danced away in this room…the kids’ feet on top of ours as we swayed across the room.  As the kids got older, this became the place for quiet talks, hugs, and wiping away teenaged tears.  Next to the kitchen, it’s my favorite room in the house.

And then there’s outdoors.  It is so peaceful when sitting outside.  We love the porch.  It is inviting any time of the day.  It’s wonderful to start the day out there with a cup of tea or end the day with a glass of wine.  The same goes for the patio in the back.  We spent many evenings having dinner on the patio, listening to the birds and relaxing at the end of the day.  We planted every tree on the property.  Many of the trees began as seedlings from the ODNR sixteen years ago.  Other trees came from family members or friends.  My Girl Scout troop planted the garden bed by the pond.  They researched native Ohio plants and chose what should go out there.  I’ve since added other plants, but it started out as a small patch of wildflowers and native trees.  We created a little area in the pine grove just last summer because it reminded me of my grandparents’ cottage.  It’s a wonderful refuge, a place to get away and still be close by.  The scent of the pine trees will surround you as you nestle into an Adirondack chair.  I love to garden and dig in the dirt.  As you can tell, there are lots of places to do just that.  The yard invites meandering, as well as volleyball games, tag, bonfires, and making S’mores.

 There’s lots of room to grow and create your own dreams here.  We had sixteen beautiful years of raising our family and welcoming loved ones into our home.  It is our hope that another family will take our place and continue to live and laugh, and love here just as we did.

With warmest regards,
Julie Johnson


13 comments:

  1. Julie...what a letter full of love. Whoever buys your house will be able to build on these memories that you so unselfishly shared. You say it is bittersweet...and from seeing the picture on a previous post...and reading your words on this post...I can understand your hesitation in writing such a letter. What a gift you have given to the next family. Jackie http://familytrove.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  2. I want to buy your house after reading your letter! Could we just move it to Michigan? The thoughtful way you looked at your house and pointed out not only the good features but also what you can do in those spaces was great. The family that buys your house will love your letter. It was worth every minute of thought and time that you put into it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Julie,
    What a beautiful letter! It made me cry! I would buy your house on the spot, sight unseen!
    Carol

    ReplyDelete
  4. I can't imagine having to write this letter ... Our home is truly a reflection of who we are and more so a treasure chest of memories that you've so eloquently described here ...

    ReplyDelete
  5. This is such a beautiful letter, Julie. I loved reading it. We recently moved, also, so I may just have to write a letter about our previous house to the new owners. I love this writing activity. What a great idea. Your details flowed through your letter, and I could almost envision the memories along with you!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh, Julie, what a treasure this letter will be to the family who buys your home! So many happy memories in every room and space. My favorite line - "The yard invites meandering, as well as volleyball games, tag, bonfires, and making S’mores." My students asked me if meandering is my favorite word because it keeps popping up in my slices.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Julie, I wrote a similar letter to the family who bought my home last year. This is so beautiful, bringing tears, for you and for me I must admit. There are "those" places that will live in you all the rest of your life, and I hope writing this letter helped bring old and good memories back. Best wishes on your move.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Julie, this is a wonderful letter! So nice for the people who buy your home, but also for you and your family, and for us to read. "The scent of the pine trees will surround you as you nestle into an Adirondack chair" - I want to be there! You have shared beautiful memories and descriptions of you family.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'll buy it and save it for you till you want it back. Kind of like the piano :) Love you! <3

    ReplyDelete
  10. Julie,
    Somehow I could put myself in each room of your house as you told your story. Such a collection of memories! I had to laugh at our similarities again as our kids used to run the lap around our main floor through the kitchen, dining room, and around into the foyer. Having been in my house for most of my life, you have me wondering what I would say in a letter like this.

    Cathy

    ReplyDelete
  11. Your post really connected with me today. Yesterday my siblings and I sold our childhood home. It was hard to say goodbye to those memories and it solidfied my father's death in many ways. The young couple who bought it did bring us joy -- we hope they love it as much as we did. Thank you for sharing.
    Clare

    ReplyDelete
  12. OH, Julie, I'm crying. What a beautiful letter and gift you've given to the next owners. The thing that strikes me most is that what you're really describing is the love you have for your family, and that will stay alive in any house.

    ReplyDelete
  13. This is a sweet appreciation and goodbye letter to a home. I hope that the new owners will treat your house with similar kindness and create their own lovely stories and memories.

    ReplyDelete

Please add to the conversation.