This Old House


Porches as far as the eye can see in our new “front porch” neighborhood, a place where people still walk their children to school, and porch parties are a monthly affair.

So, we moved into our “new” old house, a circa 1910 girl with imperfections galore. She’s a frame foursquare with an amazing front porch and stately magnolia tree rooted deeply into the postage-stamp-sized front yard, fitting for an old Memphis neighborhood where everyone truly does know everyone.

I’ve never lived in an old house before, never even imagined I would want one. My grandparents lived in a century-old house in Walnut Ridge, AR, the first residence built in the town. I was intrigued about the idea of a sleeping porch, and loved to soak in the claw-foot tub. The furniture had a history, as did an antique pocket watch under glass, a cut glass punch bowl with matching cups. But as a young adult, shiny and new seemed better.

But the hands of time tick away and change is a constant. I love this house and I cannot explain why. The minute I walked through the door, she spoke to me, tugged at my heartstrings. A conversation with a stranger last week echoed a similar sentiment. She said the first time she walked into her late 19th century home in upstate New York, she thought, “This house is for me.” I told her that I understood completely. She added, “If a place is for you, then it’s for you.”

It occurred to me: Perhaps I appreciate the charm and grace that only time can bestow. My home’s imperfections endear her to me. The original hardwood is a bit uneven, the floor underneath not quite level. The upstairs floors creak and groan. But I feel her history and it is very good, much like a middle-aged person.

So, I’m beginning to come to terms with my own imperfections that the hands of time have bestowed, and maybe, just maybe, I kind of love them, too.


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