I counted this morning that I have had 22 addresses in my 39 years of life. That's a lot of moving around, thanks primarily to the military (oh, and that bad roommate situation in college, which helped up that number). I've had so many house numbers, APO boxes and apartments over the years, that I honestly can't remember more than about 3 of them.
But I can tell you my Grandma's address, because it has never, ever changed.
To most people, it would look like not much about my Grandma's house has changed in the 60-ish years that she has lived there, except for the addition of orange shag carpet in the 70's, which is still there, covering up the original hard woods, and the added-on family room that now connects the house to the once-detached garage. Pictures have made their way to walls and shelves, and the music box collection in the front room has grown over the years. But the back room is still blue, the kitchen still has no dishwasher, and the old gas radiators are still used in full force. The old oak tree is still in the back, and the kitchen stool where my Dad sat to have his meals is still in the corner waiting to be climbed on by the Great Grandkids. The house still has the distinct, oddly-comforting smell that it has always had, resembling a mix of Old Spice and room deodorizers.
But 403 Clermont knows change. And if that house could tell us all it has seen over the years, it would tell the stories of a woman who endured change. A woman whose husband loved his job more than his family. A woman who was left behind after someone else caught her husband's eye. A woman who struggled to teach her children respect, when she barely knew what it felt like to be respected. A woman who was uneducated, trying to understand why her son would go to college. A woman who searched for love and finally found it in her 50's. A woman who faced her fear of flying and went to Hawaii. A woman who coped with the issues of life by laughing and watching Wheel of Fortune. A woman who has watched friend after friend pass. A woman who went to church, and no matter what chaos swirled around her in life, knew that God was on her side.
Today we will bury my Grandma. But for anyone passing by 403 Clermont, it looks like just another Wednesday. The DINKs who now own the surrounding tudors with their stainless appliances and BMWs in the driveway will go to Starbucks this morning and then head to the office. The nearby golf course will be busy. School buses will pass, holding kids who dread the day. But for a handful of us, the world will actually come to a halt. We will gather as a family one more time in that 2 bedroom/1 bath home, as we have done over the years, and we will say goodbye to our Mother/Grandma/"GiGi".
And 403 Clermont will change once again.