Philip moved into this house when he was 3 months old.  Let’s fast forward to 1983.  Raymond and Ruby have lived here 34 years.  They have raised a family and now it is time to retire to Florida.  Time to move into the house Raymond’s Grandfather built.  Raymond actually helped with additions and upkeep of this home, but now it would be his.  Mary, his sister had passed, and he bought her share from her offspring.  Philip and I had been married 9 years.  We were just finishing Phil’s stint in graduate school and now it was time to find a home to raise our 3 little ones, 2 boys and a girl.  Philip and I actually lived in Great Grandfather Mitchell’s Florida house our first year of marriage.  We both taught in Zolfo Springs, Fl.

Question:
Now that you are done with school, what’s next?  We didn’t know.  Friends wanted Philip to get his PHD.  I didn’t.  We wanted to stay in the Smokey mountains, but job possibilities in architecture looked better in the city of Chicago.
Would you like to live in our house while you look for a job?  OK.  It should take us about six months to make the transition from student to employment.
Well… thirty-one years later we are still here.  Of course there has been employment along this journey, just never moving out of the family home.

Our contribution to the house:
People forget that this house is a concrete block home.  In order to keep it warmer in the winter, Philip added insulation topped with cedar siding.  A beautiful front porch to sit and enjoy the outdoors.  Gardens galore, fruit trees, swings, sand piles, along with inside projects such as remodeling the kitchen all done by Raymond’s son.  It has been hard to ever really think of this house as my home, it is the family home.  Everyone has appreciated the improvements, but you can tell they miss the old homestead.  Since the city did not have all the building codes in place 60 some years ago, there are some glaring corrections to be made if we are to sell the house.

Raymond never really wanted to live in Florida.  Ruby did.  He wanted to live in Texas with Ruby’s extended family.  He liked the big open spaces and the camaraderie of the family.  Ruby didn’t want to live in the hot dry land of her childhood.  Well, Raymond, Philip is fulfilling your dream.  We aren’t moving to Florida and taking over the family house  as you wished.  It will be sold to strangers.  We are moving to Texas.  We will join the extended family and keep you in mind at all the family functions.

After Raymond passed, Ruby was moved to Texas because she shouldn’t live alone.  She was back with her sisters and their extended families.  Her daughter, Charlotte even relocated to Texas.   Ruby is there, but not there.  Philip will get to visit with her and make sure she is comfortable.  We are grateful that she is happy.  I marvel at her social skills, sometimes she fools us.  For a second, you think she knows.  But!  Alas, not the case.

Our house will also be sold to strangers.  Our hope is that it will be loved and cared for.  We hope someone who loves the outdoors will cherish the plants, trees and wildlife that  frequent our yard. It is time for us to let it go.

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