Goodbye, House

Beth Gramling Sanders
6 min readMar 19, 2021

Yesterday was happy/sad.

Happy/sad because we closed on the sale of the house we lived in for 28 years.

Where we raised our two girls and a few dogs along the way.

The kitchen in which I made approximately 2160 peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches for school lunches.

The scene of numerous taco nights with 14 teenagers around a table made for six.

My surprise 50th birthday party thrown by Sara Ann and her friends, with help from her older sister, when they made tacos for me.

A zillion sleepovers with screaming, giggling girls.

The dining room that sometimes became a sewing room, especially the week before Easter, when I stayed up until all hours finishing dresses.

A few weeks ago we cleaned out the last of our belongings from the house. We bought the house in Germantown, Tennessee, a suburb of Memphis, in September 1991, several days before our oldest daughter, Elizabeth’s third birthday. I was in the very early first trimester of my pregnancy with our youngest, Sara Ann.

The den — full of boxes and trash right before we moved out

It was a fixer-upper. We painted before we moved in, a teal color that was cool in 1991. We took before photos so we could see how our efforts improved the look of the rooms.

Through the years we improved things gradually, but it was never perfect. I had a vision for this home, and it was never fulfilled. Still, it served us well as a home in which our girls and their friends felt comfortable and accepted. It was messy most of the time, but it was full of happiness. Children, dogs, and teenagers are messy — the best kind of messy.

As the girls grew up and left home, Jim and I enjoyed our times on the patio more and more. It was shady and peaceful, and once I gave up on growing grass and Jim build a large flower bed next to the patio, we spent more and more time outside.

In 2015 we were about to start working in earnest on bringing it current. Jim had received a great bonus at work and we were going to start with new floors throughout. But in May of that year, Jim lost his job. So no…