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Home was where the heart was

July 31, 2013|Kate Coleman

I am taking a good-sized leap of faith as I write this.

It’s all in the timing. My deadline for publication in today’s Lifestyle section was last Monday. That was two days before Wednesday — when the closing on the sale of my house was scheduled. I am writing (Believe it or not, Dear Editor) three whole days before this column is due.


There have been a few loose ends and a couple of postponements, but I trust that the deal will have been done by the time you are reading this.


Still with me?


I consider myself very fortunate. The real estate market is making an inch-by-inch comeback. My house had been listed for sale for just more than a year. I would have preferred that the buyers’ final offer was closer to my asking price, but I did all right.

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In the more than 20 years since I bought it, I made some improvements and changes. New roof, repaved driveway, new railings on the roof of the 1939 stone Cape Cod’s painted brick addition.
 I peeled off many square feet of wallpaper — little piece by little piece — and made the house my home with white walls instead.


 I brightened the dining room and kitchen by having the wall between them taken down.
I had the family room fireplace chimney capped after a visit from an uninvited squirrel. In a rare moment of getting something done before I absolutely needed it, I had a wheelchair ramp and an accessible door installed at back entryways.


In case I haven’t sufficiently revealed my super-sappy-sentimental nature in previous columns, watch out. Here comes the mother lode: I love that house. I thank that house. That house saved my life.
Yes, I’m anthropomorphizing — attributing human behavior to an object. (I haven’t been able to use that word since my English-major-term-paper days.)  That house welcomed and sheltered me like a friend.
My marriage had ended six months before I found it in the summer of 1992. I had started my Herald-Mail job  — my first full-time-outside-the-home employment in 15 years — just weeks after I became a single mom of two kids, two dogs, one cat in the house, several more in the barn and a couple of horses in the fields of our Keedysville farm.


I thought I would live in that house forever, but my multiple sclerosis had other plans. I am now a happy, safe and I think the youngest resident of a “continuing care community” in town.
As I write, I am looking forward to meeting the young couple who will call “my house” theirs. The karma is good. I know a grandparent of each, for goodness sake.

I miss “that house.” I trust that the new owners will appreciate the cool shade of the tall front-yard trees and be amazed each autumn by the psychedelic orange of the delicate Japanese maple next to the patio. If they choose to sleep in the same bedroom that I did, the redbud tree outside their window will greet them in early spring.
  I greet them now with all best wishes and this suggestion: Love that house.

Kate Coleman covers The Maryland Symphony and writes a monthly column for The Herald-Mail.

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