A little over 5 years ago, I was living in Newtown, over an hour away from all of my friends and family. I had moved there 3 years earlier, during an extremely difficult divorce from a very angry man. By this time, I had gotten so homesick that I was packing up the car with my 2 boys (they were nearly 5 and 7 years old), the dog, and all our stuff and heading back “home” to my mom’s every weekend. We would use her house as a home base until late Sunday evening, and then drive back to Newtown for the week.
Well, one weeknight in February that year, I got a call from my mom, saying that she had heard from one of our old neighbors that old Dr. Berry had died, and she thought I should buy his house. I pooh-poohed her idea, just knowing I would never be able to afford the place. It was an old log cabin (built in 1947), with a greenhouse and a barn, on a couple of acres in a great school district. Growing up on the same road, I had always thought the house had a magical quality to it, in a “Hansel and Gretel house in the woods” kind of way. The gate by the road was made from an old wagon wheel, and I remember there were roses climbing over the fence in spots.
That Friday night though, I swung by the cabin on the way to mom’s, just to have a look. There was no “For-Sale” sign on the lawn. All weekend, I kept telling myself to just forget the whole idea, `cause I wouldn’t be able to afford it anyway. But for some reason, on the way back to Newtown on President’s Day, I decided to swing by one more time. As I slowed down to look at the house in the daylight, my older son suddenly piped up from the back “That’s a cool house! Let’s buy it!” At the same time, an old pickup truck pulled up alongside my car and the old man driving gestured to me to roll down my window. “Great,” I thought to myself, “Now I’m going to get hollered at for blocking the road while I’m gawking at this house.” But instead, he said to me “You interested in that house? Old Dr. Berry died, and I think they’re going to be selling it. I think they’re there today, just let me run in and see if they mind talking to you.”
Well, sure enough, Dr. Berry’s son (who I hadn’t seen since I was about 6 years old) and a family friend were there cleaning out the place. They had a dumpster out front, and when the boys and I went inside, there was so much junk piled everywhere, that there was only a path through the kitchen and living room, and you had to duck around to walk through! It looked like it hadn’t been cleaned well in about 20 years (there were still bits of streamers and masking tape stuck to the wall from a birthday party years earlier), and there were plenty of things that needed fixing or updating.
We chatted for a while. The boys found an old lacrosse stick that they were told they could keep, and then they trotted upstairs, where they found the built-in log bunk beds! Little boy heaven! As we were leaving, I gave Dr. Berry’s son my business card and told him that, although I knew it would be some time before he was ready, to please call me because I was interested in the house.
Much to my surprise, I had a message from the attorney for the estate on my answering machine when I got home. He thought I was totally crazy for wanting to buy that old cabin. I made plans to come out to the house with a home inspector (to make sure I wasn’t getting into anything more than I could handle) the following Saturday. When we got there, the house was completely cleaned out, and there was a box in the corner with my name on it, and all the owner’s manuals for various household appliances inside!
To make a long story short, there were other people (with more money) interested in the house, but the son wasn’t interested in selling the place to anyone but me and the boys. I made an offer that was accepted (no realtor involved), and had the keys to the house a month before we made settlement, so I could spend weekends there getting things ready for the big move.
On Wednesday, we’ll have been here for 5 wonderful years, and I still get that warm fuzzy feeling every time I pull in the driveway, knowing that I’m truly home where I belong.