Friday, July 28, 2017

The End of a Family Era

On Sunday, my brother-in-law and I will be doing one final task on my late mother's house: getting rid of a bunch of ancient hazardous and non-hazardous chemicals left in the basement. On Thursday, unless something out of the ordinary happens, I, the executor of my mom's estate, will close on the house, ending a long run of family ownership.

My uncle originally had the house built in the late 1950's. My parents bought the house off him and moved in late in 1961, fleeing city life in Chicago and moving out to the far reaches of the southwestern suburbs. My parents made quite a sacrifice to move there as my mom was a typical stay-at-home mom and my dad was a blue collar worker, a mechanic who specialized in heavy machinery. Along with working his regular grueling full-time job, my dad worked some evenings at my uncle's gas station to help pay off the house as well as making regular mortgage payments. This dedication to family made quite an impact on how I perceive parenthood.

This was the house in which I spent most of my early years. I lived there full time through elementary school, junior high and high school until going to college in 1976, when I lived there only during summer and winter breaks. I continued to live there on breaks during graduate school, and last lived there in January 1982.

A rather serious young lad

Typical mid-70's high school guy

College graduation with mom and dad

Even though I no longer lived there, my parents did. My youngest brother lived there through 1986, and one of my older brothers, thundering36, moved back from Australia to live with my parents in 2000. My father passed away in 2004 and my mother passed away in June last year. When thundering36 moved out at the end of this past April to return to Australia, that ended a run of almost 56 years of family occupancy.

More significantly, the sale of the home really brings an end to the notion of my original nuclear family. No matter what, there was always my mother and father ... and the house ... to return to.

Now, the family lives in different geographical areas. One brother lives in the same home town and a sister is within 15 miles. I live about 150 miles away, another brother lives 1,700 miles away in Phoenix, and thundering36 is 10,000 miles away on another continent. My brothers, sister and I were last together for my mother's funeral, and frankly, that is likely the final time that we will all be together until one of us passes. I find this extremely sad.

Nephew Andrew's wedding in 2014

My youngest brother made a Facebook post today, featuring a video of Nickelback's song "Photograph, " and wrote "Kinda sums things up right about now!"  I have to agree. I've played the video several times today. The sentiment will remain with me for some time.


Blogger Ace said...

Nice story and photos.

3:05 PM  
Blogger Onechiquita100 said...

So bittersweet...congrats and it's time to make new a professional poker player after you retire.

3:42 PM  
Blogger Memphis MOJO said...

You've been through a lot in the last year or two.

7:10 PM  
Blogger thundering36 said...

Why did you make me cry again? I'm off to the footy on this cold winter's day...

7:33 PM  
Blogger Mr Subliminal said...

Well-written post that I can relate to.

3:48 PM  
Blogger kipper said...

About to go through the same thing. thanks for posting theis

8:17 PM  
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4:08 PM  
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5:30 PM  

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