Growing up in a military family (Air Force brat), I had never lived in any house longer than 4 years. (And that only happened once.) There were maybe two places we lived for 3 years but everything else was 2 or less.
That didn’t change once I went to college.
It actually got worse. Because you move into a different room each year and out again each summer.
After college I moved to Japan for a year.
When I got back, I lived with my parents while I was engaged (4.5 months) and then our first home was a rental (for a year), before buying our first home in December of 2007.
And we are still living in that home today!
It was weird as we approached that 4 year mark… I had an itch to move again. But we’d bought a house for the future. We bought our house knowing that we’d never HAVE to move. It would fit our family once children came along, had a great yard for the dogs, and had it’s own mailbox and wood-burning fireplace.
The interesting thing about living in one house for so long, are the memories you accumulate there. And while the decorations and home-improvements have changed the scenery a bit over the years… the rooms are still the rooms where things happened.
All of the writing I’ve done over the past week or so… about our animals and their passing… has brought up a lot. And I was reminded how often something remains from those pets in the house, long after they are gone.
Like the claw marks I find on cabinets or baseboards… when I stoop down to clean them. (Our cat Pepper left them all over the house.) They aren’t really noticeable unless you are REALLY close… so they surprise me from time to time… that they are still there.
The only evidence that we ever had rabbits in our house, are the 5 or 6 little tiny bite/gouges in the side of our fireplace mantel… from that one time I left the hutch too close to the wood.
Let’s not forget Scarlett’s carpet holes or the random dried-blood droplet I occasionally find (from Lady’s tail) in a random place on the wall. (That I was sure I’d cleaned completely.)
I remember the last spot I held, petted, and said good-bye to each animal.
I remember where Pepper died.
I remember the carpet in the hallway being damp still, even after Lady was gone. And remember thinking it didn’t seem fair that the water from steam cleaning the carpet should be longer lasting, than the dog who had the accident.
Animals are only one genre of “ghost” for our houses… aren’t they? I mean, there are so many happy memories too… or baby/child memories. How about illness??
I suppose my point in all of this is that I never realized how much more the memories build up, the longer you live in one place. It makes sense… since I have very vivid memories from the houses throughout my life. But 8 years… whew! It’s a lot! And it’s completely foreign and amazing to me. To actually still be living in a place where something special happened “x” amount of years ago… where I can picture something happening while being in the exact spot where it happened… there is just something about that.
I don’t know how many more years we will live in this house. But I do know that whenever that day comes…. it will be really, really sad and REALLY hard to leave. For all of the good, the bad, and the ugly that has happened in this house… it was where our life happened.
So many memories…so many ‘ghosts’.