Today we finished emptying out our home of the last 18 years.
It was the home our children grew up in. The home they left every day to go to school. And the home they came back to every afternoon.
It was an old home. We weren’t its first occupants.
When we were new there, in an upstairs bedroom, my wife rocked the little one to sleep and sang to him every night. He was just one when we moved there. It was the home where the kids had their friends over and we had their birthday parties and they played in the log cabin in the back yard near the rabbit and the two turtles who lived in an old washtub. The boys grew bigger and soon swang in the swings and slid down the slide. Our bulldog, Gertie, is buried in that yard.
The tooth fairy left money under the boys’ pillows and they tiptoed down the stairs on many a Christmas morning to see what Santa had brought them.
We had our friends over and we sat on the big front porch and ate pizza. It was a good old home. We loved living there. But time passes and things change and kids go away to college and there comes a time.
The time came.
It was a hard home to move from. It took us a few years to finally get all our things out and today I removed the last article. It was a little red plastic monkey with a hooked arm that had somehow found its way to the basement and I found it when I was sweeping up. I wiped the dust off it and hung it up in the rafters in the basement where no one will ever find it.
The last day we were there an old friend drove by and pulled over to say goodbye. It seemed fitting in a way that he was the last person to visit us there since he and his wife had been the only people in town we knew from New York and they moved to our little town just after we did.
Over the years we met many great people in New Jersey. Sometimes New Jersey gets a bad rap, but we really had some great times there.
At the end of a long day of packing and when the last box of old comics was safely stored in the back of our car, I noticed it was still unopened from that day over twenty years ago when the guy in the mailroom at Marvel sent it to me. I always knew that one day, I would get around to reading all those comic books.
But first, I had some other things I wanted to do.
But now I think the time has just about come to open that box.