So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end. – Closing Time

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And on that note, we end our 25-ish years of owning a house in Houghton. We technically moved a year ago, but this past year has been filled with many trips back-and-forth as needs arose. Now it’s time to officially cut the cord.

We were fortunate enough to find people who will hopefully love the place as much as we did.

It was not perfect, and it’s time to move on as the arena changes.  Small-town politics are never fun, and the economy is seriously struggling in the area. It’s not an ideal place for our family now as our kids are grown and moving out into the world. I recognize that.

But there are many happy memories that keep me grateful. I know our children would not be the people they are today without the support of our community there. The town was like a throw-back to the 1950s, and our kids could explore the fields and woods with a freedom not often found in our world today.

As I said goodby to a couple of super-close friends on Wednesday, I asked two of them what they planned to do in the fall when their kids were all in school. Both expressed a desire to simply be on call to help others as needs arose — babysitting, meals, weeding, driving others to dr appts, etc. And that’s the kind of community our children grew up in.

Our children colored in books while listening to musicians who performed in Carnegie, and wandered through countless art exhibits at their leisure. True benefits of living in a liberal arts town. They ran from bears, played with foxes, bridge-jumped and caught crayfish in the creek.

It was the town where my mother-in-law met her husband, my parents met, Chris and I met, Lauren and CJ met, and Zeb and Bri met.

Now the house echoes without our children and their friends. I was all right with the move for the most part. Mostly because I’m 100% sure I will go back to visit my friends. But there was one particular item that was really tough to leave. At first we were going to bring it with us, but there’s a point when we must realize that you can’t always take physical things with you, and we do have the memory. It’s our measuring wall.

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One of the things I love most about it is that it doesn’t just show our kids’ heights. It had cousins David and Nate on it, and friends like Andrew , JD and Dakota. The measuring includes Grandpa and even our cats and dogs.

I will also miss our fun coat hooks and our kitchen, which was filled with love and laughter as our kids grew up and as we enjoyed our years running a home daycare. So many crafts and experiments were created in that room!

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As I pulled out of the yard for the last time, I began to listen to a book. By the time I rounded the bend taking me towards Letchworth State Park, about 15 minutes from my past home, I heard:

He learned how to strip the tattered bark from an old tree and take the thing right down to the ground, without sentimentality or remorse, in order to demand life back out of it for a dozen more seasons to come. – Gilbert, Elizabeth. The Signature of All Things: A Novel (Kindle Locations 164-166). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

I am a bit sentimental, but there is no remorse. And I do realize that it is time to strip our lives on the western NY front bare so we can re-grow in this new season of our lives. How beautifully fitting.

Here’s to a dozen plus more seasons to come!
And Houghton? Thanks for all the fish!