I’ll be moving soon. I’ve sold my house. It was far too large for a man living alone, and I am alone now. I’ve bought a smaller place well suited to my current needs. But as I take a last look at the place I’ve lived for so many years, leaving makes me sad.

This house reflects me. Everywhere are mementos of my long and rich life. Objects from my thirteen years on and off in Vietnam surround me. Ceramic elephants, drum tables, paintings, vases, a marble chess set. Pictures of me and my family. Walls full of certificates and awards.

All of these objects will go with me to my new house. But other changes I’ve made here won’t. I installed two new bathrooms to suit my idea of what a bathroom should be. The walls, inside and out, reflect my sense of color and design. Luxurious draperies through are of my choosing. New appliances and a new sink have changed the utility room. The kitchen boasts a new stove and refrigerator, designed for my way of preparing and maintaining food.

At the back of the house is a four-level deck graced at the lowest level with an adjacent patio that I installed. I have worked hard and spent a great deal of money first perfecting the deck and then restoring it after the years took their toll. It is the most appealing feature of the house.

Behind the deck is the back yard, dominated by a great maple tree, undoubtedly near a hundred years old. Even though it is some twenty feet away, the tree’s branches reach out over the deck. To it’s right, to the north, is a flowering cherry tree, now taller than the house itself. To it’s left, close to the southwestern corner of the extended side year, is a mammoth oak, as old as the maple. In between are flowering shrubs of all kinds.

The half-acre yard surrounding the house is my pride and joy. I have labored many hours there, planting, pruning, mulching, raking, fertilizing. The front yard sports two mature maple trees and a smaller red maple. The small side yard on the north side of the house, about ten feet wide, is only lawn, except for the shrubs along the side of the house, all now much taller than I am.

But the glory of the house is its sloping southern side yard, some forty feet wide and extending from the street to the back fence of the property. When I bought the house, that yard was grass, covering a gently descending hill ending at the tiny stream that flows between my property and that of those behind me. I worked hardest on that part of the yard. It is now filled with flowering bushes and trees. As I write, the Kousa Dogwood, a late bloomer, is in full flower. It dominates the view from the sunroom that runs the full length of the house’s southern side, its walls all windows.

More tomorrow.

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