We never met the woman who owned our house before us. We knew her name, that she was in her mid 80s, and that she was moving in with her son, the one who was helping her sell the house. We knew that she had a grandson in Spokane, because he came and took the handmade wooden kayak that hung in the basement (which we secretly hoped they would leave behind).
We didn't know much about Genevieve Crosby, but we've always assumed that she had lived in our house for a very long time. As we've mentioned, when we found our house it wasn't in the best condition. But we knew it had potential. And even though it was a little sad when we found it - the house felt like it had been loved for longer than it had been neglected.
This past Saturday afternoon, in the midst of our weekend projects,we heard a knock on the door. A man introduced himself as the son of Genevieve Crosby. His name was Joe and he had grown up in our house. He'd moved into the house with his family in 1958. He was 8 years old and remembered a lot about those days.
It turns out that one of the basement bedrooms was his. He had helped his Grandpa install the knotty pine. He also helped plant the Juniper bushes more than 25 years ago. He cupped his hands closely together when he described how small the plants were when they put them in the ground. He said they had planted them because they were low maintenance. I think our friends would disagree.
We learned that there used to be another cherry tree in the backyard and that one year, during a bumper crop, the tree produced 300 quarts of cherries. We also learned on the south side of the house Genevieve used to have a grape arbor and that she made her own wine.
Joe was on his way to a Husky game. A friend from the neighborhood mentioned that the new owners had made a lot of changes, so he thought he'd stop by and see for himself.
Joe and Genevieve live near Wenatchee now, closer to the rest of the family. He said she asks often about the old house and has wondered out loud if the new owners love it as much as she did. We assured him that we do. If we stay in this house for 50 years, like Genevieve did, we'll be in our mid-80s also. Thinking about that makes me smile.