On the last day of February, I sat in an office in south Tulsa and signed my name a few dozen times. After I did that, I was handed the keys to a house that I now own. I’ve spent the last week moving my stuff in, moving Samantha’s stuff in, and getting things arranged. Although this is the third home I’ve purchased over the course of my life, it feels like the first time again. I know most of this has to do with Sam and I living together for the first time and it being her first home, but I know it’s also the fact that I haven’t been in a home of my own for over five years.
My first house was a little two bedroom place in a small neighborhood across the street from the old Rose Bowl on 11th street. My style has changed a lot over the years, and I would never buy the place today, but my 2003 self was very pleased. It had a yard big enough for my dog, a decent sized bedroom, some neat shelves in the living room, a fireplace, and a garage for my Ford Focus. The wallpaper and linoleum were both an awful color, the kitchen was cramped, and my decorating abilities were undeveloped. But I was happy. It was pretty much the definition of a starter home.
My second house was new construction in east Broken Arrow. I was inspired by my ex-in-laws, and my Mom was inspired by me. For a time, I lived a few blocks from my mother as we both enjoyed brand-new homes. Again, at the time, I thought it was the bees knees…but I would never own new construction again. There’s no character in a pop-up neighborhood. No mature trees. The houses all looked the same. It was nice having everything brand new, but I never even changed the matte grey paint on the walls. When I left the country, I rented the house out. It was there when I came back, but it was never home again. I felt like a renter, especially after I moved to the front bedroom. After offloading the house in a Short Sale, I knew it would be a long time before I could own again.
Enter 2014. After renting a lovely home on 13th Street for the last three years, I found a house I wanted to claim. Sam and I looked at dozens, but fell in love with a little two bedroom place near the fairgrounds. It was built in 1944 and has EXCELLENT character. Like my first home, it has a fireplace and a built-in bookshelf. A nice yard, though my dog has passed on. My decorating tastes have matured. The kitchen is spacious. I will be very happy here. This is the first time Sam has lived with anyone else and we’re learning about each other daily; it’s been a wonderful experience. Save for having to crawl into the attic this morning to reset the furnace…
I can’t wait to have people over for a housewarming party!
P.S. it struck me as I was moving out of my old place that my father had never seen it. The house on 13th was the place where I did the majority of my grieving for him. That house has many happy memories for me. Parties, movies, days full of LOST and Breaking Bad, quiet mornings. But the thing that stuck with me the most were the tears, the pleading, the whys. I get to leave that process behind now and live in a place where my fond memories can live in peace.