Opinion

Excitement awaits in the new home. But leaving memories in the old one is hard to do

Some of the back yard at his current home that columnist John Spevak will miss.
Some of the back yard at his current home that columnist John Spevak will miss. Special to the Enterprise

I don’t move from one home to another very often. In the past 44 years in Los Banos, I’ve lived in two homes. I’m about to move again, from a two-story to a one-story house. And I’m dealing with a small but definite sense of loss.

Yes, my wife Sandy and I are excited about moving into a different place in which septuagenarians won’t have to walk up and down stairs. It’s a nice home we’ll be inhabiting, but I find myself feeling a little sad leaving the home I’m in now. And I’m guessing my feelings are similar to many other people who move from a home in which they’ve lived for many years.

John Spevak New Photo
John Spevak, columnist for the Enterprise. Enterprise file

I know I’ll appreciate the new place I’m moving into (it’s actually not new, but an older home), just as I appreciated my current home 17 years ago, soon after I moved in. After all, my current house had been a model home, and it looked pretty spiffy.

I remember how sad I had been to leave my previous little home on the opposite end of town on Granada Circle. It was the first and only home I owned in Los Banos and the place where three children were raised. While living in my current home, I hadn’t thought I’d feel sad again to move, but I was wrong.

I realize now I’ll miss a lot of things about my current home — beginning with the back yard. When my wife Sandy and I moved in, the back yard was just a rectangle of dirt. A concrete man poured an attractive patio for us, and Sandy and I worked with a landscaper to plant the trees, shrubs and plants we wanted. Now those trees provide welcome shade on a summer’s day.

I’m proud of that yard, especially the tall graceful weeping willow, the massive Vitex shrub (also called the Texas lilac) and the lone apricot tree that has provided many jars of preserves over the years.

I’ll also miss the view from the back yard, because our street is the furthest east In Los Banos, which means we’re next to protected wetlands. Our view has been a vast expanse of land, and on a clear day we can even make out the Sierra.

I’ll miss the back porch, too, primarily because of the redwood cover that my carpenter friend Steve and I designed and built (well, actually I was the laborer to Steve’s craftsmanship). Between the porch cover and the landscape, I have invested a lot of sweat and a few muscle cramps.

I’ll miss the front yard, too, and all the work that went into that. The tree that came with the house had to be removed, and we replaced it a second purple blossoming Vitex and added a Bradford pear tree. I’ll miss both of them (As regular readers of this column know, I get attached to trees.) I’ll also remember all the work that Sandy put into planting flowers and shrubs in front of our home.

I know I’ll miss my neighbors. I couldn’t ask for better ones — Art and his family on one side, Sonny and his family on the other. As each year passed, we bonded more.

I’ll miss the quiet street I’m on and the short walk with my dogs to a neighborhood park and expansive green basin, where I’ve watched kids, coaches, and families play soccer and softball.

I’ll also miss the inside of the house. Even though it’s been only Sandy and I who have lived there, we were able to accommodate our kids and their families when they came for short or long visits. I’ll have a lot of memories of folks gathered in the kitchen and adjacent TV room talking, laughing and sharing stories.

I’ll especially miss the tile work Sandy’s son John did on our bathrooms. He’s a master tile craftsman and turned those bathrooms into works of art.

It will be a while before we put the house on the market and we decide what will fit into our new (older) home. But I hope when it’s sold it will be to someone who will be kind to our wonderful neighbors.

To some readers I may be sounding a little sentimental. After all, as my son Mike said when I moved from my last house, the one he grew up in, “It’s only wood and stucco.”

But I’m guessing other readers are sympathizing with me, those who have lived in a home for a while and need to move. They, too, have a lot of good memories.

So in the weeks ahead I’ll think positively, and probably within a year or so these intense memories will fade as I get immersed into the next home and greet new neighbors and find other paths on which to walk my dogs.

John Spevak wrote this for the Los Banos Enterprise. His email is john.spevak@gmail.com
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