I think most of us have ideas about what our “dream” house would be if we could perfectly imagine it, find it, or or even build it . That’s because embedded deep within us is a rather ancient yearning for stability, for a resting place on this old earth that we can call “home.” And more often than not, that notion of “home” is materially realized in a physical structure, an abode, a dwelling place that becomes our sanctuary in this restless, turbulent world.
Your description John of the old Sumter house so reminds me of my grandparents house on Confederate Street in Columbia, SC. I too love the old 19th century southern houses. My cousin from SC is visiting us in Australia right now and we often talk about the lazy summers we spent at grandma's house. Good memories.
Very evocatively written, John.
Lately I've been longing more for a cozy apartment than a house. I recall one in New York when I was younger that had a big windowsill I loved sitting on and looking out from, and another in Falls Church where our first child crawled on the floor. That one had a cute little balcony perched up amid the trees. And I seem to remember a few things you wrote about the apartment you lived in for a long time before your mother's illness.
Somehow houses portend loss to me. Maybe this is connected to my mother recently selling the house my brother and I were born into in New Orleans. It was long overdue and I'm glad she's done with it, but still there's a sense of all the life and love and laughter that echoed amid those walls finally silencing. I wonder what my children will feel when this little house is gone.
I suppose the housing crisis has soured me on houses as well. I don't see how my children will ever afford a house in this metro area, or any area where the jobs are.
In any case, I hope these thoughts don't take away from your piece, which I really enjoyed reading (especially the part on porches, which you often return to).