may have been winding, but once I got here I became a fervent booster.
The flip side is that once other people move here, I don’t want them to leave.
What are career opportunities and family needs compared to the view from Sea View Trail, the community fellowship of the Self-Realization Fellowship, and the opportunity for your child to be a Howling Wolf at Mount Washington Elementary?
I’m kidding, of course. Kind of.
Goodbye to the First House
We’re on our second house in Mount Washington. Our two bedroom, Craftsman-esque starter cottage, which we’d fixed up with love and heroic effort, became too small for a family with a boy and a girl. We loved the views of the hills to the Northeast. Our Swiss brother-in-law always thought they looked like the hills of Tuscany. But a second bedroom couldn’t be added so we bought a vacant lot and built a new house around a tree.
We love our second house but we never stopped loving our first one. We would drive by and check out the improved fences, the upgraded landscaping, and the spiffy, new front steps that Jennifer, the new owner, added bit by bit.
The house looked well cared for. It looked happy.
Return to the First House
Before the last Arroyo Arts Discovery Tour, I made note of an artist I wanted to visit. When I got the addresses of studios, my jaw dropped. The artist's address was that of our old house!
I hadn’t been inside in almost ten years.
When I climbed the neat, new steps, I was downright giddy. I reintroduced myself to Jennifer who introduced me to Michael, her husband the artist. The house was filled with art that Michael and Jennifer collected when they owned a local gallery some years ago.
In the entryway, on a previously blank and uninspiring wall, was a big, beautiful mural in bold colors that Michael had painted.
Here’s the story. Jennifer had followed signs up the hill for an artist’s open studio. The artist was Michael. Jennifer commissioned him to paint the mural inside the front door. Michael arrived with a bottle of wine. Now they’re married.
That’s the kind of house it is.
Another Goodbye to the First House
Jennifer and Michael recently held a moving sale. My friend Natalie was upset to hear that they were leaving the Hill because their garage sales, according to her, were legendary for their treasures. We couldn’t figure out why there wasn’t a “For Sale” sign outside.
My husband Marty was driving by the other day and noticed that Michael and Jennifer were having an Open House. Like me, it was the first time that he’d been inside in ten years.
It turns out they’re moving to New Mexico because Jennifer, who’s a writer, has been offered a job there. Michael and Jennifer are hoping to lease the house instead of sell it. But of course, the house is so charming that people at the Open House were asking about buying it including two women from a notable, all-female, art rock band.
“Do you want to lease it?” the women asked my husband. He told them no. He’d lived there for fourteen years.
My teenage son was impressed when he heard about the band members wanting to buy the house. “You mean, our house? The house I grew up in?” he asked, about the home he’d lived in for only the first five of his sixteen years.
That’s also the kind of house it is.
What's Left Behind
Of course, a part of your heart stays behind in every house and every place you’ve loved. When you think of it that way, no one really leaves Mount Washington.
I am sure the musicians would love the mural and the windows in Michael’s downstairs studio and the improved landscaping. I hope they've fallen in love with Mount Washington if they don’t live here already. But I will be sad if Michael and Jennifer move for good even if a piece of their heart stays behind in their old house at the bottom of the Hill.
Happy trails, Jennifer and Michael.
We'll keep an eye on the house.