I have been a little remiss in keeping up my posts this week. The reason was a house….
My husband and I are at that stage where we have grown out of our first home and we are looking for something new – or at least new to us. Looking for the first house was challenging, but I am finding this search more difficult. Perhaps it is sentimentality, perhaps it is just that things have gotten so ridiculous in terms of cost.
Last week, we happened to find something we really liked. It was going to require an extensive (and expensive) cosmetic renovation, but we got up the courage to offer anyway. It was going to put us at the top of our budget. Our agent wrote up the offer. Then, we discovered less than an hour before our offer was to be presented that another couple saw the house that day and were going to submit a competing offer. My husband was in Vancouver on the other side of the country when we realized we were going to have to put our very best offer forward – immediately. We had an hour to get our ducks in a row and submitted. We lost it.
As disappointing as this was, we learned a lot from the experience and we know that means that something better would come along. We had, after all, been through this process before.
All this got me to thinking about how much more mobile we are than just a couple of generations ago. People built their houses with the intention of dying in them. I live in an area that was settled with high hopes and poor farming. Towns were established and quickly abandoned when news that the railroad was going to by-pass them. Homesteading was a risky and challenging practice anywhere, but on the Canadian Shield, it had special challenges provided by the very rock that attracts the residents of this place today.
Houses were built with blood sweat and tears in an era of simpler tools and whatever was available. Families moved into these simple wooden buildings with everything they had in the world, which was often very little and scratched out their lives. I often wonder, when I pass an abandoned house, who was the family that built it? How did they live? What were their expectations for these unknown northern spaces? Did they die here? Or were they forced to abandon and begin again?
I expect that in most cases, I will never know the answers to those questions. Perhaps when we find our perfect house and our story ends, someone will drive by our home, 70 or 100 years from now, and wonder…