To the new owners of 1603 Wanda St.,
It is hard to wrap my mind around the idea that the structure you will now call home is the same one that has been home to me for all 26 years of my life. I’m sure you can relate to some point in your life when an unforseen circumstance dramatically changed your reality. It isn’t easy, but life goes on. Life will go on tomorrow as you excitedly sign papers to signify your ownership of my childhood home. Life will go on as you move in, settle down and enjoy life within those walls.
For me and my family life will indeed go on, but it will change. Our last memory in that house will be the process of emptying it of all my Grandparents earthly possessions. Our last memory will be looking back at an empty living room with memories of family Christmas, games of Old Maid and Grandma & Grandpa sitting in their chairs looking out the picture window flashing through our minds.
You’ll enjoy your home because of those two people, who also happen to be two of the greatest people I’ve ever known. Because they fell in love and decided to build a home where their family would grow & gather day after day, year after year, holiday after holiday. You’ll enjoy your home because they valued the Lord above all else & took great care of His blessings of money & family.
This is what your new home looked like when my Grandparents built it in 1966.
That little guy there on your left? That’s my Daddy.
Tonight I started to think about what your life might be like in that house. I hope that you will laugh as much as we did. I hope that you will feel the peace that has permeated every room from the very first day it was built. You should know that your new home has always been a home of peace. The walls of your new home have never seen a screaming match or a drunken party, rather it’s rooms have hosted family gatherings, sleepovers and joyful holidays. You should also know that your home was committed to the Lord for many, many years. It has been a refuge for our family and the friends that came to find comfort & wisdom. It has heard thousands of prayers from the lips of the most amazing man I’ve ever known. I hope you find comfort in that.
There are a few things that might be helpful for you to know about your new home.
First, I can’t guarantee that the central heat/air will function if the thermostat is set under 80. I’m fairly certain it’s never been tested. Also, in case you’re cold natured like my Grandma and your family is dying from the heat like we often were, it will be helpful to know that for whatever reason the switch that turns on the ceiling fan in the living room is located in the garage. Why? I have absolutely no idea. But it does make me smile to think about how long it will take you to figure that out.
Your new oven has learned well how to make the perfect pecan pie. I might have to send you Grandma’s recipe so you can carry on the tradition. Also, the garage makes a great shield from the bitter cold wind when you absolutely must have a fish fry in December.
Your new yard has held cheerleading practice, lawn mower & golf cart rides, firework lighting, pecan picking, sprinkler running, jungle gym climbing, lawn chair sitting & more childhood games than I can count. I hope you fill that yard with family & children often. And if you haven’t already, invest in a riding lawn mower. You’re going to need it.
Put a night light in the hallway. Play Old Maid with your grandkids in the living room floor. Listen to Elvis or Southern Gospel on Saturday mornings. Eat ice cream. Make pop corn the old fashioned way. Pray before meals and before bed and between breaths.
Make your own memories and know that you are incredibly blessed to call 1603 Wanda Street home.
PS. Don’t touch the basement walls. Trust me.