Letter to the editor — July 5

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 5, 2018

There ought to be rituals for leaving houses. But we just call the movers. Sure, they’re just a structure of wood and clay. Yet when it’s time to bid adieu, we’re somehow surprised at how much it yanks at our heartstrings. Some houses are easy to walk away from, simply a season’s passing. But some houses become homes that develop beautiful souls over time. Little by little, laugh my laugh, with some heartache thrown in for good measure, they mold your being.

When I found out that the house I grew up in was sold, I instinctively took one last trip down to the Waterford neighborhood in Clemmons to honor it properly. My plan was to walk around, sit for a while, spend some time with my memories … and then let it go. Little did I know how much the sentimental valve of nostalgia and the floodgates of things forgotten would open. Every scratch on the wall, every creak in the floor — memories were everywhere, like items tucked deep in a drawer, only to discover them years later with delight.

In the sense of soul, this was my home through and through. And gosh was it good to us! It reverberated the sound of dance songs into perpetuity. It wrapped us in its walls and made us feel safe when times were scary. It wore the tread of old friends and unexpected visitors. It echoed the crying — it amplified the laughter. Our home was like an old T-shirt, bending and creasing to be exactly what we needed at the time — even when we didn’t know what we needed. It was unconditional and selfless. An unwavering confidant. A woman in the storm.

While not every memory was perfect, the good definitely outshines the bad. There was growth, learning, healing, love, laughter, and joy. A place with four simple walls became something much more special. It was the place I grew up — and one that I know I’ll always miss. Before I left, my sister and I quickly ran outside to take one last picture together on the front steps because it was beginning to sprinkle outside. The rain turned into a heavy pour, then a hail storm and back to sunny — all in less than 10 minutes. Talk about symbolism!

Leaving marked the end of an era, but a beginning for the next family with little children to move in. If our old house could talk, it’d tell you how excited it is to have little feet running up and down the halls, making it a bustling home once again. And I can’t tell you how happy that makes me. So, what is it that makes us mourn the loss of a structure? Is it the amazing design? The way the sunlight spills through the blinds on an early morning? The painting on the walls? No, it’s the loss of the vessel that holds our memories. But even though we lose the vessel, we have the memories. We just have to build a new place to hold them. That house in Clemmons will forever stay in my heart.

— Emily Schemper,