Our neighbors across the street just moved out. Time is like a wheel, going around too fast, until you fall off. When we moved in, those neighbors were already there. Their daughter babysat my two young sons, ages 7 and 4. How time flies. Their daughter is now in her fifties, and my son just brought his two year old over to play. My grandson looked at the moving truck, and said, "big truck".
People move too much. Those neighbors didn't. They lived in that house 42 years. When I moved here the man next door had been here since right after World War 1! He was an old man who had been born during the blizzard of '88 (that's 1888!) He lived to 96 and did his own gardening, painting, and climbing to the top of his roof, right until the end.
I loved him. He taught me how to garden. He talked to me about the town way back when. He reminded me of my grandfather. We sat on his wrap around porch and watched the Memorial Parade go by. Everyone saluted Mr. F.
Since he died three separate families have moved in and then out. I watched one family's two daughters grow from young girls to young women. They are married with children of their own now.
The old lady next door on the other side, who died a few years after we moved in, told me she and her husband had taken the train from New York City around the turn of the last century. They said they'd get off in the first darling town over the Hudson and that turned out to be our town. She told me our house was the only one standing on the block back then. Our house is 132 years old.
Where does the time go? After Mrs. L. died a young family moved in with a baby girl. Then they had a baby boy. Their children grew up and the parents moved back to New York City. Then another young family moved in and in a minute their six year old son is driving a car.
We loved our neighbors across the street. Joe saved them once from a fire. Mrs. M. called from the store. She had left a boiling pot on the stove. Joe ran over just in the nick of time.
I used to give peach parties. I had a wonderful old peach tree that Mr. F. had planted for the woman who lived here before us. But that peach tree succumbed to shade, and the friends who attended the party have mostly moved, scattering with the wind.
I am sitting at the desk I have had since high school. I am looking out the same window I have always looked out while writing over a hundred poems about the trees, gardens, and people of this town, as the seasons changed, rolling faster than a speeding wheel.
I sat at my Smith Corona typewriter that was given to me when I went to college. I wrote short stories on it, many of which were published, and novels, none of which were published, as I stared out the same window for 38 years . Now I write on a computer, surrounded by the same family photos: a grandmother, I'm named after, who died before I was born, my husband, my two sons, once little now big, my four grandchildren.
When my oldest granddaughter was a little girl she helped me plant a new garden. She skipped merrily back and forth, between picking mulberries that bulged in her cheeks, and planting sunflower seeds in the new garden. She is 18 now and visiting. I'm going to ask her to come with me to the nursery to pick out some plants for her old garden.
I am so rooted here. I can't conceive of moving. My friend has her house up for sale because she can no longer afford her mortgage. Two neighbors around the corner died last year and their widows have put their houses up for sale.
I love my old house. We have lived here longer than anywhere else. When we moved here, the rooms seemed so big. Coming from a small apartment, I didn't have enough furniture for every room. Now every room is stuffed to the gills. Lots of stuff I bought at garage sales. It may have been junk back then, but it's turned into antiques.
When we moved here, there was a magnifient tulip magnolia tree. After it was strangled by wisteria, I replaced it with a weeping cherry. It seems like only yesterday, but that weeping cherry towers over our house and is no longer weeping. It was pink, but now it's pink and white, and stretches to the sky.
Our neighbors from across the street had a cat that loved our backyard. He was the color of marmalade and always found a perfect spot of sun. We will miss him, and them. Will someone miss us someday?
We saw the new neighbors across the street. They are young. We too, were young, once.