We moved into 1157 South 20 years ago.
I’ve never lived anywhere as long as this house. This is home, will always be home.
It was a Sunday. Our first night in the house. In the big...PINK...house. Peptobismol Pink. EVERYTHING. Walls, trim, doorknobs, shelves, carpet...all pink. EXCEPT for the hallway - gold shag, and the den...green ultra shag.
An oak tree had fallen through the roof, and into the living room, and hallway. I can’t even remember how long we lived with it like that. We didn’t use the living room for at least 5 years. But, I’m sure there wasn’t a hole there that long.
This house was never supposed to be a forever house. There were times we loved it here, there were times we hated it.
The park across the street used to be a mess. A total and complete mess. The bushes were massively overgrown, litter everywhere. Beer cans, needles, everything you could think of. When we first moved in I was the customer service manager at Lowe’s-so I was often off in the mornings. I would sit in the house and call the police - almost daily to come over and get hookers out of the park - in broad daylight. There was a time I was home and went to get the mail, and an entire family was up in the yard having a picnic. I remember not knowing what to do so I called Trey and I’m like uhhh these people all up in the yard eating their fried chicken.
We have worked on this yard so so so much. To date we have planted/transplanted 18 trees/camellias - lost two of the original trees of the house...one Holly that didn’t survive hurricane something or other. We sat in the house and watched it get ripped Out of the ground. And a dogwood that just got tired, and decided to lay down one day...in the middle of the street.
Trey worked and worked on this yard to get it just the way he wanted it. He would come home on Saturdays with a truck full of something ... and spend all weekend spreading, and pruning...fully dressed, khakis, button up shirt, and his hat. Full respirator - Noise canceling headphones...and every accessory you could think of. Treys John Deere tractor, and every Stihl yard piece of equipment they made...except for the edger. When Treys grandfather passed away he took the edger, and used that thing faithfully, and first every-time he cut the grass. It’s still in the garage and still works like a dream. It’s old as dirt...but works like no tomorrrow.
There were times we couldn’t wait to move out if this house...we looked at houses in toogoodoo, johns island, and Mt Pleasant. But no. Nothing ever really felt right...we would always find something we just didn’t like. This just became home...and nothing was changing that.
Hazel, our neighbor came over that first time 20 years ago, and after that she came over almost daily...she wanted to see the house, what we had done with the house. Always nosey as can be...and always thinking everything was new. Trey would constantly be saying no ma’am that’s not new...been here since we moved in. Hazel never really asked to come in...she would just open her back door and scream ‘TREY?’ ‘THOMAS?’ ‘are y’all there?’ or later she would scream out the back door ‘GEORGIE?’ And our dog Georgia would haul buggy over there no matter where she was or who she was with.
We got very close with hazel over the years. She would bring over macaroni almost weekly. I’ve never liked macaroni and cheese...until hazels She would also make little random things and bring them over - pound cake, cobblers, etc. on our birthdays she always had a little something. If someone came over that she didn’t know...inevitably she’d stick her head out the door and want introductions. Hazel was just Miss Hazel. When she was taken to live with her son...she did NOT want to go. She would tell him that she wanted to ‘go home - the boys will take care of me’. At her funeral 6 years ago we met Hazels entire family - and they all knew us as ‘Hazels Boys’
Trey always had big plans for Hazels house. He wanted to buy it and have it for his parents so they could have a house in between travels, and they’d be right out the back door on down the road...those plans got sidetracked.
That’s one of the hardest things to accept...things that we had been planning on and working towards...now will never happen.
Life was planned. Everything was basically figured out, planned for, and we were working towards that. People would come over and ask about hazels house - Trey would flat out say ‘I’m planning on moving my parents in there - just to make it easy on everyone’. The reaction was always the same....are you crazy??? That’s awful close! But, really not. I don’t know. We never thought it was weird...I mean half of park circle thought they lived in our garage anyhow. It’s just the way it was.
I think the sudden change is the hardest thing to accept. Suddenly my entire life changed in two totally different and drastic ways. My ability was shattered...and then everything that I knew was changed.
I felt like Sallie Field in Steel Magnolias. Mad, Angry, and Confused. I was so mad I just wanted to hit something-anything, and everything...I still do most days.
Having Trey taken away was something I never thought about...even throughout cancer treatments I never really considered it as a possibility. It was never an option. That’s just how I dealt with the whole fiasco. Not really ignore it...but I just did not see the benefit of exploring that side of things. I’m sure it want healthy, but that’s the way it was.
Thinking back about this house, the history that we have had here. Everything. There’s no way I could ever leave here. There’s no way I could change anything...except things we had always talked about, things that Trey had drawn out, imagined, wished for.
I can’t believe it’s been 20 years.
20 years of memories.
20 years of plans, gone in an instant ... and I’m alone.