The Sad Empty Sound





Smells have always evoked a strong memory for me, but as I walk through my totally empty old half of my house the echoes of my footstep bring me back to the first days we lived in this house. When we got here twenty-one years ago this month we lived many more days than we had planned without our furniture. True to their reputation our movers did not live up to their promise to get our furniture to us any where close to the promised date. Of course being furious about that did no good whatsoever. I really don’t recall that many specifics, but the house sounded so big empty.


Since we did not know a soul and had no commitments in our new town I certainly never imagined then what strong roots we would put down in Durham. We came here for Russ to go to Business school at Kennan-Flagler. The house we tried to buy in Chapel Hill did not work out and if it weren’t for our dog Beau and three cats, Stormy, Charlotte and Chappy needing a house rather than an apartment we might never have discovered the house we live in now.


We almost did not look at it because the MLS listed it as only having two bedrooms, but Russ, ever the eagle eye, noticed some strange discrepancies and stated it had to be a mistake. Of course he was right. We were looking for an “older house” and our agent kept showing up things that we just considered “used” at five years old. This was the oldest house we saw, at 50 years old. To us it was still in its infancy considering we had both grown up in places with 300 year old houses. But running out of time we decided this was the right house at the right time.


We have loved it well and hard. As the furniture was moved out of the rooms today and the rugs were pulled up I could see the places that the cats favored to let us know they did not like us leaving them home alone. In the dining room I can recognize where the old house used to end and the new portion began when we added on. With all the clothes out of my closet the only thing left are the markings of how tall Carter has been through the years.


I know this empty sound is only temporary, but it gives my stomach an uneasy feeling like I had waiting those days for the moving van to arrive with all our possessions. But unlike those first days now we know and love Durham. This is where so many of our friends are, we know our neighbors, and like most of them, Russ has a wonderful business here, we have our church and Carter’s school.


So as the floors get refinished, the marks on them that represent the living we have done here will get sanded away and be remade new again. No sooner than two weeks from now we will begin to scratch them up again making new memories. I don’t like the echoy sound of an empty house. I want everything back making this a place filled with friends and family, laughter and good story telling because this is our home empty of furniture, but full of love.

2 Comments on “The Sad Empty Sound”

  1. ellenpunderwood says:

    Very well said! Hope you spend another 20 years (if not more!) in your wonderful house. Certainly glad you found an older house with character, as well. (My parents’ house will be 50 years old this year, I think. Doesn’t seem old to me, at all, though.)

  2. jane carter says:

    most moving just loved it and everyone will be touched as it has happened to us all mom

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