I met my friend Charlotte at work. She is one of those women who is very petite and cute and a clothes horse. I was drawn to her bubbly laughter and personality from the very start, and I can’t remember how we eventually started hanging out together, but we did. We would have lunch together and talk about all sorts of things. We both had similar views on spirituality, and we gravitated to that subject a lot. I remember the day that I walked past her office, and her husband was helping her pack up her things along with a security guard. She had been laid off as part of a restructuring. I went back to my office and cried. She was such a bright spot to my day.
She met her husband, Joe, on Match.com. So, we frequently talked about her experience dating in her early 50s. She was on that site for a couple of years before meeting Joe, and she always encouraged me to be patient. She got a job in Tupelo, Miss., about 6 months after being laid off. She was really excited because her large family is from that area, and Joe had agreed to move there. They found this lovely 1863 home that had been sitting vacant for many years. She said that she knew she wanted it from the minute she saw it. It was a mess, and it needed a LOT of work, but she could see its potential.
Click on the pictures for captions.
I drove down last year, and the house was a construction zone. They had a few rooms completed, but most of the house was under construction. When I walked in the front door, I was taken aback by an energy that just felt so spacious and light. They have a habit of playing music all the time, and it resonated through the house. That weekend, we played folk music and spent a lot of time dancing around the rooms. It was fun. And, I fell in love with that house. It just had a feeling about it that felt lively. Charlotte said people that have lived in Tupelo call that house the party house. They say there was always dancing on the front porch, and the people that lived there were very sociable. It is such a perfect match for Joe and Charlotte.
Joe and Charlotte made a genuine effort to merge their two families. They are very welcoming, and they’ve welcomed me into their little clan. They had a St. Patrick’s Day Party last night, and I was invited to spend the weekend. They hosted 50 or so people, including a large contingent of Japanese youth that were in Tupelo working for the Toyota plant. They barely spoke English, but they joined right in with the festivities. Charlotte’s house has several rooms, and, as I walked throughout the house, there was a separate party going on in each room. The pool table room hosted the young people, including the Japanese contingent. The matriarchs of Charlotte’s family were in the living room. Charlotte’s family, who happens to also be a bluegrass band, was playing on the porch. The kitchen had an assortment of people, and the dining room was kind of a thruway where people passed through when they wanted something to eat. Throughout, there was music. It was fun.
A guy that I date periodically, Richard, joined me in the festivities. At one point, we went into a very quiet room on the other side of the kitchen where the bathroom happened to be located. Something was wrong with the doorknob, so it was a hoot to watch people go in. We’d hear the doorknob jangling, and, eventually, they’d knock on the door for us to let them out. They would then commence to put the doorknob back on. It was hilarious. Some of the Japanese guys were in that room taking pictures with us on the sofa, and one of them was saying something that we couldn’t understand. A young Japanese woman was in the room, and she translated, “He’s saying that even though you don’t speak the same language, our hearts are connected.” From the mouths of babes.
I thought of how that house through the years is reminiscent of what that young man said. Even though we are not of the same time, our hearts are connected. Charlotte says she knew that house was hers when she first saw it. Its energy connected with her. The parties of years before still rang through the rooms just waiting for another owner to open its doors again. If those walls could talk, I’m sure they’d say they are happy to be back in business….holding laughter….and dancing…..and a family. As I drifted off to sleep, the party was still going on downstairs. I could hear Charlotte’s bubbly laughter reverberating through the night air from the front porch. I could hear the bluegrass music still playing. There was something else I could hear just as beautifully. It was the breath of that home and all of the ancestors who had lived there before. And, with each exhale was the comfort in knowing that even though it was a different time, our hearts were connected by our laughter in this beautiful place.