This Old House
I don’t remember who was the first to live in me. Memories build up over layers of time and it was so long ago.
The first ones I do remember were–let me think a bit–I think they were the Wongs. And they had three children. No wait–that must have been the next family. The Wongs had one. That’s right. And he was a holy terror, riding his tricycle inside, banging into my walls, ripping the wall paper. That’s when he wasn’t marking them up with crayons. The kitchen cabinets? Ha! That was a whole different story. You don’t forget things like that. So when they left, I wasn’t sorry to see them go.
Well, he did get older and stopped being such a brat, but by then the damage was done and the next ones to move in—they were the Huffeys and they had the three children–well, they had a lot of work to do. You know, like stripping the wall paper completely and repainting. I liked the shades of paint they used, different for different rooms. Very artistic. Of course the cabinets had to be refinished. And they did all the work themselves except for the cabinets where they hired some help. The children were already in school and they were really careful with me since their parents always kept things neat and fixed up. The boys shared a room with bunk beds even into high school while the daughter had her own room. She was the oldest, and when she moved out–I guess it must have been for college or maybe work–then each boy got a room. The Huffeys lived with me the longest. When their children finally all left, they moved to a condo. I got an idea that they were about to leave me when they repainted my outside and replaced all the window screens the same month. They had several garage sales too, which is always a tip-off.
I thought it was funny that the next to move in was a retired couple. I mean the Huffeys were older and retired, but they moved to a condo–I think–and now another retired couple moved in, though not as old as the Huffeys were. Don and Bob–they had different last names so I always just thought of them by their first names–were from the Mainland originally and, after visiting here a lot of times, decided to just stay. I think they must have had money since, before they moved in, they repainted me inside and out even though I had just been painted. And they did bigger things too, before the painting, like taking out a wall, building in cabinets, redoing the bathrooms, and adding on to the lanai. Skylights too and a hot tub just off the lanai. When they finished I was like a new house, inside and out. Well, okay, maybe that’s going too far. But I was really something. And they continued to really maintain me very well. They entertained–had a lot of small parties–usually pretty quiet. Different from the children’s parties when the Huffey kids were growing up. Too bad they were only with me for a short time compared to the Huffeys. I think it was just seven or eight years after they moved in that Don came home to find Bob stretched out dead. I remember that day—Bob just walked into the living room from the bedroom and then just suddenly fell over and didn’t move. Don’t know what from. Maybe heart? I think he was seeing a doctor regularly before that happened.
Don put me up for sale right after that. I don’t know where he went, back to somewhere on the Mainland. I guess it was just too sad for him to stay on alone.
I was empty for some time after that. There were other houses on the street that were also empty, and times must have been hard. No sales. Finally Julie Takama came, liked what she saw, and moved in. The view from my lanai probably sold her. She was also from the Mainland but had grown up here—went to Kam I think—and was brought in to manage the first local branch of the retail giant Newman’s. Even though I again had someone living in me, most of the time I was alone, since she was single and was busy with business. She didn’t get much of a chance to enjoy the view during the day except on some Sundays. Cleaners came once a week, letting themselves in since she was never home during the week. There wasn’t much to clean actually. And a gardener came every two weeks. Don and Bob had put in an automatic watering system so there was enough to trim and cut around me. Her sister still lived here and so she came to visit with her family on some weekends and on the holidays for a view of the fireworks–legal and illegal. I was glad I had a tile roof and not cedar shakes at those times. Julie did so well business-wise that she got a promotion back to the mainland after only maybe four years? The moving truck came and emptied me out again.
So now I’m alone once more. I guess they found termites this last time since I was just tented. It would be nice to have a family move in next time. Just with older kids.
Today, two men stood in the driveway. I didn’t understand what they said since they weren’t speaking English.
“This is well priced to buy right now sir and, as you can see, it’s been meticulously maintained. I know it’s little smaller than what you said you wanted, but the view is tremendous. Think of it this way. Buy it now as an investment. With this view, it can only appreciate. Use it as your vacation home—either for yourself, your family, or your associates—until you’re ready to replace it. Then you can tear it down and build something more in keeping with your stature. Or, if you wished to, you could do that immediately.”