Home sweet home

Columnist Glenn Mitchell reflects on a major change in the family

My parents went and sold my house right out from under me. Well, before you say I should consult a lawyer, I should probably explain a little further.

My name wasn’t exactly on the deed of the house but I lived there for a good percentage of my life and it’s known to a lot of people I grew up with as my house, or at least my brother’s house, or my other brother’s house or even the other brother’s house.

And yes, it was my parents’ house too, even legally if you must know, or maybe just the Mitchell’s house for nearly 50 years or so.

You see it was built in 1965 for $21,000 when my parents and the three boys, later to become four, moved in and committed to this community, back when people at the Coast thought this part of the world was, well, not really part of this world.

Obviously we should have invested more in real estate at the time but we were too busy building our lives.

And I can’t really fault my parents, well I can but it’s not really fair as they do have a right to sell their own home, as they are both in their 80s now and a condo does make sense on one level.

But they are very healthy and very active and they could have waited for a few more years to make the big move, you know when I was more ready for it.

Heavy sigh.

Actually we’re all adjusting fairly well if you must know and I’ve driven up to their (my) house only once on auto-pilot before I caught myself a couple of blocks away from what is now the wrong destination.

Of course we have yet to figure out Christmases and Thanksgivings and even birthdays and Sunday dinners, although we all went out to a restaurant for Father’s Day which felt weird but apparently other people do it because the place was packed. Who knew?

Oh well, life goes on as they say, and my parents assure me the people that bought my, er, their house are nice and everything.

OK, but do they know what they’re getting? Sure a big lot with an alley and a deck and all that physical stuff but what about the memories?

Do they know who Sambo, Nadia, Marty, Mischa, Tiger, etc. are? Well they all lived there at one time, hopefully happily, and they’re all of the feline persuasion, OK?

Do they know that one year we built a rink in the backyard and it promptly turned into the snowiest winter on record and all we did was shovel and water, shovel and water, and only donned skates a couple of times, although it was good with boots too?

Or that the street that they live on used to be a dirt road and every spring the city would put a few tonnes of oil on it and each kid would take turns falling off their bikes and hurting themselves, not to mention getting really, really dirty, and our mom would call the city and……but they kept on doing it every year anyway?

Or that one Christmas when we had no white stuff as I looked out the window, feeling blue, and I prayed for snow and we got over a foot overnight and we had to take a taxi to church the next day (at least that’s how I remember it and I’m sticking by it)? Or the Halloweens when we blew up firecrackers and fireworks back when having fun wasn’t considered criminal?

Or the Ford Falcon, or the Chevy Malibu, or the Valiant Brougham, or the Viva Vauxhall, or the yellow Camaro, or my brother’s Mazda with the basketball behind the front seat to keep it secure, sort of? Or the ‘new’ bikes that I used to get that looked a lot like my brother’s old bike but a different colour?

Or the road hockey games, sometimes with fights too, or the kick the can games, the parties, (both known about and maybe not-so-known about) and just generally all the countless people who came in that front door, well actually my friends usually came in through the basement, to enrich our lives? And, of course, the smell of fresh bread, and or cookies, when we came home from school?

It truly was a wonderful place to grow up, thanks largely to the people who sold it out from under us, and I just thought the new owners should know what they’re getting. So there.