205 Virginia Avenue…That’s the address of just one of the 1292 houses in the small town of Chester, WV. But it’s more than that to me. It’s “my” house. It’s the house I grew up in from the time I was two years old until I went off to college and got married. For the past 30 years, it’s been the house I went to when I visited with my mom and dad. In all, this house has been occupied by my family and me for the past 51 years! However all that comes to an end this weekend when my mom vacates this house and goes to live with my sister two hours away. I never dreamed that leaving behind bricks, mortar, and shingles would be so difficult.
The thought of never again coming back to 205 Virginia Avenue and never again dialing 387-1680 leaves a lump in my throat that I just can’t seem to swallow. You see, for me, 205 Virginia Avenue isn’t just a mailing address, it’s home. It’s where I was loved, raised, praised, and disciplined. It’s where I was taught how to live.
It was in this house where my mom would read me Bible stories, and even teach the neighborhood children. It was in this house that I would “holler” to my dad from my bedroom late at night to ask him Bible questions. And instead of telling me it was bed time, he would take the time to “holler” back answers and explanations until I was satisfied. It was in this house that my sister and I would fold church bulletins on TV trays every Saturday night, and fuss about who had to fold the most.
It was in the shadow of this house that I played hide-n-seek, “army,” baseball, basketball, football, and street hockey. It was on the sidewalks of this house that my dad taught me how to ride a bike. It was here where I learned to mow a yard, and trim/edge a sidewalk (without a weed-eater). And it was here that my dad taught me how to meticulously care for a car.
So you see, this is why 205 Virginia Avenue is more than bricks and mortar to me. To me, it’s about family. It’s about Grandparents, the Nicola’s, the Rine’s, and the Seelbach’s and our New Year Reunions. But mostly, it’s about my mom, dad, and sister and the memories we created there; memories that I wouldn’t trade for the world.
So I say goodbye to 205 Virginia Avenue this weekend. Although we will never occupy this house again, at least in my mind, I can still clearly hear the voices of my mom, dad, and sister, echoing within its rooms.
May the next occupants of this house experience the same kind of joy, love, and pleasant memories with which I have been so blessed. And if they find any scratches in the hardwood floor, cedar closets, or plaster, I want them to know that my sister did it, not me!