The gardens are a mixture of distant past and newer plantings...from Mike and later, from his long-time tenant Mary Beth. Aunt Molly planted the huge tangerine tree outside the back door more than 60 years ago. It is still bearing wonderful fruit.
It looks like such a peaceful place -- and it is. Only the childhood memories aren't peaceful. The moments of anguish and hopelessness and terror that happened within live only in our memories now along with all the love and laughter and dreams for the future that we shared within these walls. To Mike, Tai and me, it's our childhood home that can inspire whisps of ghostly memories that both chill and warm our hearts.
To anyone else, it's a charming little house that Mike has made even more delightful with his improvements, like built in bookcases and special reading lights, a stone fireplace so cozy on winter nights.
It's so much a matter of perception. Once, attending a Christmas party given by Mary Beth, who rented the house happily for ten years, moving out only when she got married, I overhead one of her friends remark "Oh, Mary Beth! This is such a cute, charming house."
I shot Mary Beth a look and she smiled and rolled her eyes. She knew the story of our family in that house.
But now the house had a different story happening within. Mary Beth had brought her own special warmth to a house that needed a loving touch to make it a home. Now Mary Beth has married and moved on, leaving happy memories and her own warm decorating touches behind.
But very soon, Mary Kate and Matt will make it a home again, to make their own vegetable garden, to pot some bright flowers, to sit on the porch in the front or the back enjoying the views, playing their guitars and filling the place with song and with love once again.