In 43 years, I’ve lived in 16 different houses. That works out to a new house every 2.7 years of my life. I tend to make mistakes doing public math, but I did this math over and over again, and I’m pretty sure it’s right. It’s kind of a staggering number, when I really think about it. Such is the life of a military family. Houses come and go. Family is the constant. Family is always there. Some of the friends you make along the way stay, but family is the one thing you can count on.
I’ve never really understood people’s attachment to houses, I guess because I’ve never experienced it myself. I didn’t grow up anywhere in particular. There are some houses that I feel slightly more sentimental over than others — the last house I lived in with my parents, where I learned to drive and became old enough to vote and drink; the first house I ever bought myself — those two stick with me a little more than the others.
Since my grandmother passed away in May, the house she shared with my grandfather has been put up for sale. My grandfather built that house. We went to that house for Christmas almost every year when I was young. My grandfather would move the stairs around all the time. You’d show up and the stairs would be in a different place. Since the house has been on the market, I’ve visited a few times. I’ve walked around the house and looked at the things left at the end of a life. All of the big and small things she kept.
That house, for me, was the only constant. It was the only house that has been there my whole life.
It’s sold now. And I think I’m sadder about that than I have been about any of the houses that I actually lived in.