Ten Years Later


Postponing our big Open House did not stop us from celebrating 10 years in our house. We distilled our guest list to Harriet in the afternoon and a few neighbors in the evening. Harriet arrived around 2:30 on Sunday.


She has not been in the house since 2002 when she and her husband Ray sold it to us. Harriet was joined by her daughter Lisa and good friend Anne. John and Jack and I welcomed them all.


When we sent emails postponing our party, we anticipated that someone may show up having not received the message. Sure enough, shortly after Harriet & Co.’s arrival, Matt and Dolores were at the door. Matt was our realtor when we bought the house. It was a happy coincidence that all of our guests were directly involved with our purchasing the house 10 years ago.


Perhaps it is rare for home sellers and buyers to stay in touch. We should have asked Matt if in his experience this is an unusual occurrence.

John and I immediately liked Harriet and Ray, and their house. Somehow, their warmth and humor and straightforwardness added to the appeal of the property. We were happy to buy a home from them. We were sad when Ray passed away a few years later, and all the more grateful that we had got to know him.

We appreciate that Harriet was interested in extending our relationship beyond the closing date, as were John and me. Through correspondences and the occasional meeting over the years, our friendship developed. We now enjoy Harriet’s active participation in our blog.

We were excited to show our guests the changes to the house. Their enthusiasm for our project gave John and me a real lift. It was exactly what we needed, and what we wanted from this anniversary.


John and I were mindful that a home can leave an imprint on its occupants. We share with Harriet the same address, but different times and different experiences.

We enjoyed hearing about the way the house was when Harriet lived here. Lisa brought photos from her wedding which took place in the house and garden in 1978. It was fascinating to see how things looked then (although I could not see much beyond the 70’s hair styles). We particularly liked these photos of Harriet and Ray.


We wanted to give a token gift to Harriet, and John had the perfect idea — a photo travel mug with an insert of wallpaper from the old kitchen.

We had salvaged some of the ‘strawberry festival’ patterned wallpaper that Harriet remembers covering over years ago, and we uncovered earlier this year (see May 4, 2012 posting “Hidden Kitsch”).


I used the paper template that came in the mug and traced around an interesting section of the wallpaper pattern.


I cut the wallpaper and inserted it. The last step was to screw the base back onto the mug.


Harriet and Lisa and Anne were delighted.


The travel mugs seemed to capture the spirit of the day. It was a great combination of honoring the past, celebrating the present, and raising our glasses to the future.

Later that evening, we had neighbors over for drinks and continued to celebrate the many friendships that have flourished since we moved in. The day was full of good energy for John and me — a great practice run for the real Open House!

live. enjoy. repeat.

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