We've left the old place for a slick new condo.
It was a good ol' house. A 1912 arts and crafts bungalow, probably built right out of the Sears, Roebuck catalog. When we arrived, in 1973, she had been much abused: some of her fir woodwork painted, some removed; the stained-glass window and the original prairie-style chandeliers long gone; the handsome five-paneled living room window (prominent in the old photographs) replaced with an Eisenhower-era "picture window," the original fireplace mantle superseded by a monstrosity in native stone; the brass registers covered with layers upon layer of paint, all those beautiful, then-fashionable pre-World War I built-in cabinets carted to a dump; the classic oak floors covered with wall-to-wall carpets. Over the years, little by little, we did what we could for the old lady: insulated her walls and ceilings, replaced the primitive electrical wiring, stripped and refinished the woodwork and the registers, fabricated a "new old" mantle and "new old" bookshelves and cabinets, modernized the heating system, removed the asbestos, and (Boulder is hotter than it was a hundred years) retrofitted it with air-conditioning. We updated the kitchen -- brought the kitchen into the modern world.
We left the old dear in far better condition than we found her. Trust me on this.
And let's not forget the backyard garden. Where there was once an incoherent jumble of thorny plants, there are now peonies both herbaceous and tree (Including my favorite, the ever-larger Joseph Rocks), irises bearded and Siberian, a variety of multiplying day lilies, climbing roses, a thriving weigela, a Rose of Sharon, an abundance of clematis, and fences draped with thick healthy ivy. I'm sorry to report that I never did get around to replacing the sticky, aggressive bear-berries.
Are we sad to leave? A little, but only a little. We did well by the old house, and the house did well by us. We leave with a good conscience. But the time has come to move along. It's only an object, after all; a machine for living.
So here we are now, in this bright shiny new apartment. Floor-to-celing windows. Fancy new appliances. A "great room," a "master bedroom." An elevator. It took almost a full month to move, but in that month we progressed from the turn of one century to the turn of the next.
And it feels right. It's OK.