Our story so far: We bought an old Methodist church to turn into our home and spent a couple of months demolishing the interior.
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Our purchase of the church injected the village grapevine with fresh subject matter. Unlike any other house either of us had ever owned, this one piqued the interest of a whole lot of people beyond our close friends and family.
“What’s the buzz? Tell me what’s a-happening,” the apostles sang to Jesus in the musical “Jesus Christ Superstar.” I imagined this was what former church members, neighbors and village officials asked associates over cups of coffee or bottles of beer.
No doubt about it, there was a lot more activity around the church than there had been for a year and half when the congregation ceased having services there and the food pantry exited the basement. The building had sat empty and dark, the only signs of life in the bushes and trees, which we had liberally trimmed in our first days.
The neighbors, the former pastor, a parade of contractors stopped by during those first weeks of demolition. Our friends were very interested in this latest crazy project of ours, many paying a visit just to see the dust and two-by-fours of our “before” (we couldn’t even offer them a chair—or a bathroom with a door!). I’m sure they raised their eyebrows as we described our ambitious plans when all that could be seen was debris (and a whole lot of tools), but for the most part they offered the right enthusiasm, “This is awesome!” “That will be beautiful!” “I can’t wait to see it finished!”
A number of our friends expressed interest in being invited to a housewarming party, to which we readily assented.
If any house deserved a party, it was this one.
I was imagining a posh affair with tuxedoed butlers, finger sandwiches and classical music, while Tyler probably was thinking about where he could order a pig on a spit and a keg of beer, but I know both of us were looking forward to that party more than any of our friends.
We enjoyed the attention, I must confess. And we always welcomed a break from moving things around, tearing stuff apart or other pressing work. She was interesting, this old house, and we enjoyed talking about our grand vision for the place. As we relished in the future, though, some visitors were pondering the past. One doesn’t buy a historical landmark without buying its history.
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Monday: We had become stewards of other people’s memories. Read about it here.