House Affairs

People here in Atlanta love their homes. And with good reason — most I’ve seen are beautiful. They are freshly painted, with manicured lawns, cute lanterns adorning front doors, often set off by faux Roman columns.  They are filled with massive appliances, and every imaginable convenience: from room-to-room intercom systems to fire places that create fires with the flick of a switch.

So as we search for a new rental house, we are not surprised to find that people are moving, but renting out their old house simply because they want to keep it in the family.  But it makes me wonder whether their emotions will render them unable to leave the premises.

At the house we viewed on Friday, the father stroked the built-in stair gate and explained how they put that in themselves when they first bought the house. Never mind that their children are now too old to require a stair gate.

And a framed photo on their refrigerator showed how the house looked 15 years ago when they first bought it, before they extensively renovated it. Their basement was filled with so much junk (an empty jar; a string of light up jack o’ lanterns; reams of packing material) we didn’t think they’d be able to move, even if they wanted to.

They explained that they wanted to be closer to the children’s school, which makes sense.  But they, like the owners of another house we saw, were willing to pay two mortgages so that they could hold on to the house for sentimental reasons. 

It’s a touching concept, and one I never experienced in London. Most people were flat ashamed, rather than house proud. We only had one closet in the flat we own in London, so we found storage wherever we could.  Moving to a place with more space was a relief.

And yet, I do find that I miss that flat sometimes.  Even the ruckus called by the trains that raced by on the tracks adjacent to the building.  So if we had had a massive house with all of bells and whistles, I would probably love it too much to ever leave.

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