Friday, December 29, 2023

Freeman House


 Hello, you. How are you? We have some catching up to do. Namely, because, let's get right to it:

 I went back to Freeman House.

I went back, y'all.

I hadn't meant to. It wasn't even remotely a thought as I went about my day yesterday, running errands and rushing everywhere. It was a distracted, hurried day, so it's no wonder my frazzled  brain gave the wrong name at the dry cleaners. Brin Wisdom, I told the lady twice, before realizing my over-drive brain mistake and correcting it so she could locate Matt's shirts. And as she handed them over, she studied me closely and said, thoughtfully: Brin Wisdom. You're the girl they almost made the movie about, aren't you? That girl with the house?

I gave it no thought, quickly assuring her there was no movie, and no, that couldn't be me. But as I was tapping the chip of my debit card to the reader, she persisted: Yes you are! Did you know your house is for sale? They're selling it.

And suddenly, it all clicked- the debit card reader... Brin Wisdom... "the girl with the house". My brain quit spinning and stopped with a big arrow on this singular thought. She meant Freeman House. Freeman House was for sale.

Understand: in the almost fifteen years since I bought her, I've driven by Freeman House three times. And one of those times I couldn't even turn my head to look. So I can't say exactly why I ran to the car, abandoned my errand-running, and drove straight to her. But suddenly, there I was, braking hard in front of her much-altered yard, dry cleaning hangers rocking wildly on the hook behind me.

There she was. With a realtor sign in the front yard. I started crying.

 - - - - -

Not as hard as I did when, hours later, Matt and the realtor waited inside Freeman House's front hall as I stood on the porch repeating, I don't know if I can. I don't know if I can go in. But as Matt joked the realtor began pointing out features, I took a deep breath and willed myself inside.

She's changed so much.

I hated it. I hated it all.

The original woodwork and doors? Gone. The enormous, wavy-glass windows? Ripped out. 

The library? Now a dark, odd "primary suite". 

The cozy living room? Chopped up into a bathroom, walk-in closet, and storage area.

The kitchen? Well, the brick fireplace is gone. So is an entire wall and doorway. The upstairs stairs are in a different, crammed place. There are doorways added and doorways missing, rooms altered and rooms missing. And that enormous wavy-glass built-in in the old dining room where I spent my first many nights after I bought her? Astonishingly, it's nowhere to be found. Instead, there's an empty cove in the wall with a wifi router/TV cable outlet.

I wandered the place, trying to be present in the conversation, as memory upon memory flitted just beyond sight. Here's where the break-in happened. There's where the range used to sit. This used to be the dining room. That was my desk area when I got that email about being on the Dr. Phil Show. No, no... this used to be the back porch-turned sitting room where I sat in the mornings and drank up the sun with my coffee.

We tried, as best we could, I guess, to tell the realtor of this house being so much more than just... a house. So much more. But how do you? How do we tell someone, twenty years later, about the time I saved the house and the house saved me?

How could we all possibly tell the story of Freeman House?

So. Here we are. We all have a decision to make. Freeman House is for sale, again. The owner is motivated to sell quickly, so there isn't much time.

Do we see this as God restoring all things and bringing us full circle? Do we buy it and open her for guests as I intended before? 

Do we let her to go the interested family from Kansas looking at her now, trusting that this new life will bring its own new blessings?

 Vote your heart. I'm listening. And somehow, I think she is, too. -Brin