Remember that old cliché that the only thing constant is change? Well, this took on a whole new meaning the other Sunday when we watched a rainy afternoon’s worth of old home movies. How little the trees were 15 years ago! And where did all our neighbors go?
That kid in the movie riding her training-wheeled bike is now getting ready for college. Jill and I had legitimate dark hair. And how about that cordless phone! Looks like a walkie-talkie from an old WW II flick. But one of the things that struck us most was wondering how the holy heck we survived six kids in this house.
Speaking of this house, it has indeed served us well. But now, as littlest birdie gets set to fly, it’s a bit more than we need.
This ticklish subject of downsizing enters our conversation more and more these days, as it does for many of the Baby Boomer generation. Talk of moving brings many questions to this demographic as they leave behind the family homestead to enter condos, apartments lofts and active adult communities. This last is a fairly new idea in the housing market, offering amenities such as pool and spa, golf courses, card rooms and planned outings.
People are selling off their extra furnishings, gifting their progeny with their very own “Amazing Rubbermaid Tubs O’ Stuff” accumulated over a lifetime of kid-raising, and rolling the lawnmower down to the curb with a “Free” sign slung over the handle.
And maybe this is a good thing.
When our parents died, we had plenty of issues to contend with, not the least of which was what to do with their life’s accumulation.
My brothers and I still marvel at how much mom was able to squirrel into her small two bedroom retirement apartment. And Jill’s parents had a two-story house-full that took over a year to parcel out.
My bride’s semi-annual purging party will pretty much save our kids from that task. But there are just some things you can’t part with.
I’ve managed to hang on to a few containers of my past, in spite of her not-so-subtle hints to toss my Boy Scout badges and City Champ jacket.
Any move would require some decisions. Even a math-challenged dude like me can figure out that it makes no sense to go smaller but keep a similar mortgage. We’ve considered condos and even renting, but that means no yard or basement for the kids to escape to when grandpa has had it with the eleventeenth screaming lap around the family room.
Our ideal getaway would be a ranch style with a yard and garage and finished basement, near highways and shopping and some nice restaurants, and within shooting distance of at least 3 cheap golf courses (I snuck in that last one, Jill). And honestly, we can’t imagine a life where the short-bus ride to the casino is the highlight of the week.
So do we stay or do we go?
This old neighborhood is looking better every day.
( From "A Boomer's Journal", Suburban Journals of St. Louis, MO July 1, 2009)