Selling and Saying Goodbye by
(6 Stories)

Prompted By Home

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The sign went up today.
Eighteen years of life well-lived is for sale.
An empty-nest ranch on a quiet cul-de-sac grabbed us at the first drive-by.
Within the first year, our daughter graduated college and came to stay awhile.
A few months later, our son and his family moved in with our first grandchild.
Loving and living and laughing; we made it work.
In the blink of an eye, along came another baby girl and another son through marriage!
Our kids found their own homes; and it was just us again….
To build a garden wall, plant flower beds, design and construct a deck
Full time jobs didn’t keep us from babysitting, having sleepovers and spoiling our granddaughters.
Swim, bike ride, carnivals, fairs and Disneyworld…all through the eyes of children again.
We were having the time of our lives.Missteps and health hiccups finally caught up with us, but again we made it work.
Working from home in his wheelchair, then a walker and finally a cane….
Grandpa orchestrated and oversaw the house renovation project.
Wood floors, new appliances, added windows, French doors, Berber carpet.
As his health and mobility improved, we did a switcheroo…
He took over the household chores and I the yard work.
Great fun with our grandson running around most days!

Just when we thought it couldn’t be a more wonderful life,
The twins came along! Retirement quickly followed and now….
It truly was a Grandma and Grandpa house with double the stuff and double the fun!
Sandboxes and slides, swim gear and skateboards filled the garage.
Portable cribs in the kid’s room, games and books in the den and lap trays for those
Breakfast in Bed mornings with grandpa’s famous pancakes.

The sign went up today....For Sale

All five grandkids had pals in the neighborhood.
The twins lost their fear of dogs from the gentle shelties who lived next door.
The man across the street lent a hand for trimming too-high hedges.
Every Halloween, there we were; sitting out front. In costumes. With gin and tonics.
Catching up with neighbors while we passed out goodies was the highlight of fall.
Our yard-decorated front, back and side; had the most witches, scarecrows and ghosts
Thanks to Grandpa’s bargain shopping!

Same at Christmas time. Oh, how many freezing Decembers we took turns on the ladder,
Putting up colored lights and hanging wreaths;
Blinking Santas and snowmen, polar bears and a family of ducks. The after-holiday-clearance
Stuff was all right here in our beautiful yard. “The more the merrier the holiday,” he’d say.
And inside was no different.
Over the years we acquired quite a collection of musical decorations;
Imagine them all playing at once!

From the time they were little, the kiddos planted garden flowers and veggies every year.
We called them our Gardenyardigans. Carrots and strawberries were a favorite.
And the flowers; learning to cut and gather throughout the spring and summer is such joy.

We helped them hunt for bug and leaf specimens; and watched as they ran and shrieked
Catching fireflies on a warm June night.

With the stone wall and the oversized deck, there isn’t much lawn to play on…..but there’s a hill!
Great for coming down in winter snow; slippery fun running down into the summer sprinkler.

No Christmas decorations this past year. No sitting outside at Halloween.

The kids are busy with sports and clubs now and have all become great swimmers.

Sleepovers are in the big bed now, and it’s donuts for breakfast, not pancakes.

It’s become a Grandma-only house; not the same. Just not the same without him.

Both the inside and the outdoors have lost something; The other side of shared work, accomplishment, pride, enjoyment and love for this house.

A brand new place 18 years ago that became a lived-in home filled with happiness. Soon, the time to say goodbye will be here.

Time for this ranch to welcome another family to live and laugh.

If I could wrap my arms around this house;

I’d thank it for letting us become grandparents, letting us grow old together,

And eventually, for giving me the strength in it’s soul to grow peace in mine; Giving us both hope for a new future.

Profile photo of joan stommen joan stommen
Retired reporter, teacher and principal. A grandma, traveler and blogger who still writes and substitutes when I’m not off on adventure.

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Characterizations: moving, well written


  1. Betsy Pfau says:

    A lovely tribute to a place full of wonderful, warm memories of growing up and growing old, together and with your extended family. You paint such a warm, inviting picture that I want to crawl in myself. Thank you for sharing.

  2. joan stommen says:

    What a neat way to recall my old home…. comforting place to crawl into! Thank you for reading Betsy, I appreciate your kind words.

  3. John Zussman says:

    I love how this tribute to a house contains so little description of the house itself and so much of the people and activities that went on there. So poignant when the “double the fun” Grandma and Grandpa house becomes a Grandma-only house. May the next phase of your life be as rich.

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