Houses and People

There have been a lot of older houses in our neighborhood that have sold in the last year, but no one has moved in to them. I feel sure that these houses will be torn down and new ones built in their place. That is happening a lot in our neighborhood lately.

The house next to ours sold fairly quickly and someone is paying a service to come mow the grass weekly, but no one has moved in.

The house right across the street has been empty for a while. It’s owner moved to a nursing home a few years ago and in the last year she has died. The house went on the market and sold right away. However, once again, no one moved in.

This house is a tiny, old, wood framed house. There used to be two almost alike across from us, but years ago the other one sold and was almost immediately torn down.

I remember one morning years ago, before Jon headed out to school, we sat on the front porch eating breakfast and watched the giant bulldozer chomp away at the tiny structure. It was fascinating to watch. In the time it took us to eat an egg sandwich and drink our juice, the house was gone.

In its place, they built a house that would have been considered way too big for the lot in the old days. It sits beside other large structures that loom over the neighborhood where little cottages once stood.

My home office sits in the front of our old house in just the right spot for me to see what is going on in the neighborhood. As I get older I enjoy watching people walk by and keeping up with what is happening around us. Mrs. Kravitz has got nothing on me!

The little white house that just sold is directly across the street from my office window. I kept waiting for someone to come tear the house down and begin building another big, new house.

But the little house sat and sat. Then one day people came and began to wash the outside of the house. Why would you wash a house you were going to tear down? I began to hold out hope that the little house would just get a well deserved face lift, but not be torn down completely.

I told Tim that if they would just take down the rusty wrought iron on the front porch and replace it with wooden beams, it would help a lot. And they did it! I then told him a new roof would help. They seemed to hear me and did it. I am holding out hope for a new front door, some shutters and a fresh coat of paint.

I have no idea what the inside looks like. I am sure they are remodeling that as well. But I can’t see the inside, only the outside. From my window I will probably look at the outside of the house more than anyone, including the owners. I may never see the inside at all.

It is tough to know what is really going on inside just by looking at the outside. It might give you a hint at the style or the age of the house, but it really doesn’t give you a whole lot of the real story. You have to dig deeper, you have to take some time and really check out the house. Sometimes you have to live with it a while before you discover even more.

But what does the little house across the street have inside? Will it house a family full of love or a family struggling with any number of issues? Does the bigger house next to it have more to offer just because it is bigger? Are those people happier? Which is better- the elegance of the bigger house or the cozy quaintness of the smaller?

Only looking at the outside doesn’t tell you much. I think the house across the street is going to be pleasant to look at, but I don’t know if all of the leaks and issues a house that has been empty for years could have have all been addressed. I hope they have for the sake of whoever buys it! But looking at the outside doesn’t tell me any of that.

I see the neighborhood change and watch the new construction and the remodeling. I see how the landscape is transformed one house at a time.

One of the things I love about my street is that there are old houses that have been updated and some that haven’t. There are big new houses that loom large on their lots. There are bungalows and cottages, many different styles and colors of houses. My neighbors house is blue and kind of a two story traditional house, my house is brown and one level and the one on the other side of the blue house is green. There are yellow houses, brick, white stucco and beige wooden houses. Some are tiny and some are huge. Not a single one is alike.

When all of the new ones were going up, I was pretty sure I didn’t want a neighborhood of all new houses. I love the diversity, the interesting differences in each house. I love that they are updating the cottage across the street and not just tearing it down. I know that is not the easiest way, but I am glad.

I am also glad that all of these different styles, colors and sizes can coexist in one neighborhood, making it more interesting and beautiful. That what makes them different makes the whole area special.

I love to look out of the window and see all of the different houses, standing side by side to make one strong, appealing, intriguing neighborhood. I don’t know what is going on inside any of those houses. I only know what I see from the outside.




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Marietta is a graduate of the University of Montevallo with a BFA in musical theater. She has been performing for over 50 years on the stage and continues to perform, direct and teach. Marietta is married to Tim, has a son named Jon, and a cat named Penny.