Escape from Usher, Pt. 2: The Old Girl Has Good Bones

Nineteen years ago was the last time I bought a house. In my 40 plus years, this is only my second home. I didn’t even go away to college. As I think about it, I don’t think I ever been away from this place for longer than an extended weekend.

I remember what the home inspector said, “This old girl has good bones.” She definitely fits in the “don’t make ’em like they used to” category. A poured concrete foundation and heavy structural beams impressed the inspector. We added block windows a few years later. It actually gets warm in the basement in the summer if the windows are shut because it’s sealed so tight. The rest of the house, not so much, as it was built in a time when heating fuel was cheap and insulation was the old Sunday newspapers. When we started a family, we switched out the wood-frame single-pane windows for new ones, which helped quite a bit.

At first glance, she doesn’t look so bad for 99 years old — Two stories, white aluminum siding, fiberglass awnings, and flat backyard that is a near perfect rectangle that ends at the edge of a creek that is now worth the charm since the borough and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers implemented extensive flood mitigation measures downstream. We’re just one of many who called this place home. It started out as a company home for the dairy farm up the road in Robinson Township, so she looks very much like her sisters that share this side of the street with her. Over the years, however, each gained their own personalities.

She served us well as a young family, but we’ve outgrown her. Like a favorite sweater that has been washed too many times, she just doesn’t fit right anymore. For a long time, we tried to keep wearing that sweater despite it creeping up in the back and fighting with the sleeves to reach wrist length.

It will be bittersweet to leave her, but I will enjoy getting her ready to hand her over to the next caretakers.