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She was not enthusiastic about their new home–until she discovered that the decor had benefited from divine intervention.
Every house had its treasures. Or so I thought until my husband, Michael, called me over to the computer to look at pictures of the only rental available in our new town of Lewiston, Montana. “Well,” Michael said, “what do you think?”
I thought it was the plainest house I’d ever seen in my life. No comfy nooks, no molding or millwork, few windows, low ceilings–it would be like living in a cardboard box.
“Does the Realtor have any other pictures she could send us?” I asked hopefully. Maybe these had just failed to capture anything charming.
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The agency e-mailed some more pictures over. If anything they were worse. Plywood cupboards. One microscopic bathroom. Dull floors. But we really had no choice. “We’ll take it,” Michael said over the phone.
As we got ready to move out of our house in Utah, I reminded myself how lucky I was. At least we’d have a roof over our heads. I knew some people didn’t. The truth is, I’d been spoiled when it came to houses. All my life, it seemed, angels had blessed me with wonderful places to live.
I grew up in an 1850s saltbox with a drafty add-on, set on 38 woodsy acres in New York State. In my mind’s eye I could still see the layout of the old farmhouse, with its big, rambling rooms heated by the wood-burning stove.
I loved every detail–the wavy wood floors, glass bubbles in the windowpanes, slanting windows in the attic, the cut-glass doorknob in the bedroom hanging off-center.
Even the closets were quirky. One in particular had a big, fat doorknob made of brass. Inside, the floor was covered in a linoleum with a faux wood-grain design. That was a house with personality, I thought, packing up.
If I had my way I never would have left that house. But after we got married, Michael took a new job in Idaho–one that promised more moves in the future. Being with Michael was the important thing, but it was hard to say good-bye to that farmhouse and hello to our “updated” apartment.
“The kitchen isn’t very big,” I said on the day we moved in.
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“Yeah,” Michael agreed. “But look out the window.” The view from the sink took in a gorgeous mountain landscape. It was a worthy substitute for the woods at the farmhouse.
Even that little apartment had its surprises, I thought as I taped up another packing box. Box, I thought. We’re moving into a boring box.
With all our belongings in the care of a moving company, Michael and I headed to Montana. Watching the scenery sweep past I remembered the 1970s rambler we’d lived in in Oregon.
In those days, with two little girls and various dogs, cats and rabbits to take care of, I didn’t have much time to worry about my surroundings. But when I watched my daughters play by the creek in the backyard it felt like home.
After that house came a much more modern one in Anchorage, Alaska. I never thought I could find anything in that spacious and contemporary house to remind me of the farm, but on cold nights the tiny fireplace gave off just as much homey warmth as Daddy’s wood-burning stove.
Keep an open mind, I thought as we drove up to our new house in Lewistown.
We walked in and my open mind shut itself up tight. Here it was, I could now see with my own eyes, the most disappointing house I’d ever moved into. Maybe I’d been hoping angels would have magically transformed the place into something other than what we’d seen online. But that hadn’t happened.