When the ownership of a beloved house passes from
one generation to the next, it is not an easy transition.
|Our family's beach house on Long Island's North Fork|
There are so many emotions, so many memories, so many mixed feelings.
Above all, there is a natural reluctance to make any changes. It is still "their" house.
Only, it's not.
And now it's up to us to care for it.
You look around, and you see the nearly 20-year old paint on the walls, the worn out areas on the carpet, the cotton curtains that are actually falling apart, destroyed by intense waterfront sunshine . . . and then you know. The house, well loved and cared for, and happily lived in until it could not be lived in any longer, needs help.
|Second floor family room|
|View from second floor deck|
This is hard.
We are beginning modestly, with some new flooring on the first floor. Fresh paint on the ceilings and walls. Some needed plumbing repairs. Slipcovers on the sofas and chairs. New curtains. And a down-to-the-tiniest-corner professional cleaning that will banish the very last of any lurking dust bunnies.
|Decking. Time to restore it, too.|
|Looking into the kitchen from back entry|
I can't tell you how hard that was, and how many times Peggy and I had to reassure
one another that we didn't need to keep everything just because it had belonged to Mom.
Some things we suspect she kept only because they'd been gifts.
|Dion asleep in his spot in the kitchen|
I told my daughters, who were with us that Sunday, that when I am gone they must not
feel guilty disposing of something that I loved (as long as it's not their father!).
We know that our Dad, who passed away on February 2nd, would want to see the house
he designed, that he thought a paradise on earth, used again.
|First floor living room|
We can do this now. For us, and for them.
I know we'll have tears, but we'll have laughs, too.
Our mother was a strong believer in life being for the living;
I know she would want us to put on our big girl pants,
So I'll be away from blogging for a few days. No computer access out there. No TV.
But we've got some good wine, a corkscrew, some books, a board game or two,
and an endless supply of memories to smile over, and plans to make.
We wish our brothers and their wives could be with us too, but they have become
Southerners. Imagine that. And if they were at the beach house
with us, we wouldn't have enough beds for everyone! Not yet, anyway.
Southold, here we come.