by Sana Hayes

We’ve all heard that phrase “the end of an era,” though I think we experience so many changes so rapidly these days, it’s hard to determine which ones constitute “an era.”

My brother and I are helping our mom sell the home we both grew up in, a home she herself lived in for 56 years — from her 30s to her 90s. She had the same phone number for nearly six decades. Remarkable indeed.

It is with nostalgia and reverence that we prepare this one-owner home to become inhabited with someone other than our family. My mom reminds us that while it’s “just a house,” it was her house — one chosen and built for her and my dad shortly after I arrived, the baby in their lives.

Change comes creeping along over time, slowly and persistently. I was only a resident of their/our home for about 20 of those years, but it was always a place to come home to, even if it was no longer home.

When my divorce happened, I was that boomerang baby who came back for half a year before getting on my feet again. Years later when I was able to buy another home of my own, my childhood home was again a place to camp out for a couple months in the gap between the apartment lease ending and the home purchase beginning.

My parents’ home was always the kind of house you could come back to — any time for any reason. It was stable and enduring. It was the epitome of home sweet home.

Even the new buyer said he couldn’t put his finger on it or give me a word to describe it, but that he just felt something special… peaceful… about this house. I think the word is love. The very thing that makes a house a home.

Even while this house sits empty, as it has for nearly a year now, love abides. This 1960s ranch on the big corner lot was home to more than just us. We grew up with dogs and cats as well as more temporary guests like ducks, woodpeckers, turtles, a rat, a gerbil or two, a couple of hamsters, roosters and even a lamb.

The home was host to volunteer fire department holiday parties that began with cocktails and ended with breakfast. There were wedding receptions and baby showers. There were garage sales and neighborhood block parties.

There were no strangers to this home and everyone was welcome. After-school snacks were readily available along with Band-aids and Bactine for skinned knees and elbows.

We learned to ride tricycles and bikes and then drive cars. There were boats, a camper, a motorhome, hotrods, classics, station wagons, trucks and compact cars that variously graced the driveway over the years.

Sturdily built by European craftsmen and tenderly cared for, this home is ready to begin its own new era with a bit of a remodel, updating, new paint, and new people.

So as our family begins our farewell and another family excitedly anticipates their hello, we acknowledge that this, for us, is indeed the end of an era. A recognition and acceptance that life as we know it moves constantly along.

There will be time for a pause, some gratitude, some remembrance, probably some tears and for sure some champagne.

And every happy memory we made there is ours to keep forever.

— Sana Hayes is a free spirit, as comfortable in a tiara as she is in pajamas. She writes to better encounter the radiant self in each of us. Contact her at cowgirlsana@gmail.com .