Remember the round we used to sing around the Girl Scout campfire? Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other’s gold. Can the same thing be said about houses? I mean, most of us can’t keep all the houses we buy (I’ve tried—but three is just too many, and now I’m an anxious intimate of several realtors). And frankly, we can’t keep all our friends either at the same level of activity as we move down the paths and roads of our life journeys. But, the gold friends are the ones we continually invest in, confide in, and chide ourselves over if we haven’t been as attentive as the friendship deserves. The silver friends turn into the threads that make up the quilt of our life experiences. Quilts are recordings of love. I have a quilt that I made of my children’s clothes as they grew out of them. I can run my finger over the blue flowered square and remember the dress I made my daughter to match the Raggedy Ann doll I also crafted for her. I can gaze at the now-faded square of red, white, and blue cotton that were once the pajamas that covered my soft and sweet smelling son after a warm and playful bath. They are dear memories, just like many valued friends who graced my life.
I have photos of the houses I lived in and they evoke sweet and bittersweet memories. My first home was the one to which we brought our first-born. As we laid her in her crib, we looked at each other and asked, “What do we do with her now?” Another home saw the angst and crippling effects of divorce, another dwelling—the independence building of my new single life, and one—the discovery of new love.
But the smallest of all, the Tucson villa we recently lived in, was the hardest to leave. A little pondering on the new larger patio while looking at the grander view of the mountains gave me the opportunity to dig into my heart to figure out why. The little villa was my tutor and mentor to Southwest living. I needed to transform the interior design from the previous owner’s grandma decor to Patti and Tom retirement years in Arizona. I wanted to immerse myself in this different land. I learned about colors of the desert, what was tasteful Southwest and what was kitschy Southwest (cowboy toilet seats). I had a small canvas onto which I could paint as I willed with the colors that spoke to my soul and upon which I could place furniture that wasn’t Midwest Queen Anne. I don’t mean to sound too grand, but as I looked at what I had created, I… “saw that it was good.” Into that creative nest we brought new and old friends; marveled at the coyotes, bobcats, and birds we saw through its windows; and we realized it was too small.
We bought a larger home that spoke to us, but every time I go to the villa to gather things before the final sale (end of March, yea!), I feel like I’m saying goodbye to a special friend. I’ll always remember how I cut my Southwest teeth on that little nest. The new house is marvelous, bigger but not too big, has a yard for gardening (Tom calls it playing in the gravel), and a kitchen that is the best I’ve ever had. Better yet, it’s not a grandma house because most things have been updated and painted, and I’ve only had to change a few things to call it our own. But my role is different in this house, and I’m not sure what it is. Like new friends, a new home is beginning, fresh with possibilities. I’m up for it.