They didn't treat the house well. For one thing, despite the fact they were renting their own residence from someone, they didn't choose to live in the house because they were afraid that my grandparents would haunt them if they did. After several years, part of the roof caved in due to lack of repair (and, lack of energy, as I believe that people living in a structure give it a kind of healing strength). After forking over the money to fix the roof, they decided to start renting it out, assumably, to recoup the costs of repairs. They rented it to a lady for many years who ultimately wanted to buy it. They wouldn't sell, however, supposedly because they believed that the University would expand into the area and give them far more money for it. They took out loans on the house and accumulated liens until they were heavily in debt. A guy bought the house next door and they tried to fuck over his construction permits so he fucked them badly. After finding out that the old house was partially on his land (the original neighbors either didn't know or didn't care because there was a driveway there anyway), he built his house to the edge of the old house, blocking out light to the bedrooms, and fenced out his part of the house's yard. Eventually, when their loans got called in, they lost the house and, if I am to believe what I heard along the grapevine, the neighbor got a friend of his to buy it for a song. So for the last 2 years, or so, it has been under various states of construction or repair and every time Welsh Girl or I would pass by it, we would wonder what was going on there.
About two months ago, I decided to find out. I approached some construction workers about seeing the inside of the house. They took it to the head of the project, who called me and we set a time to see the place when the owner would be there. I told Welsh Girl and she was excited at the prospect of seeing it. The Welsh Parents were here that day so they wanted to come too, meaning that the Despoina would be coming along to a construction site... So we caravanned over to the house. Met the project head and the owner and finally went inside.
The place was, in every way, shape and form, alien to me. All the interior walls I knew had been removed. The bathrooms had been moved. The bedrooms had been moved. The kitchen had been moved. Much of the original foundation had been replaced. This was not even my home with different paint and decorations. This was an entirely different house. Where I had eaten breakfast every day, there was open living room. Where my grandfather's work desk had been (he repaired clocks as a hobby), a kitchen sink stood. Where my grandmother played the piano, there was a bed. We lived here. My parents were married here. My grandfather almost died here. But not here.
Everyone else loved the place. In fact, Welsh Mom said that it was exactly the kind of place she had always wanted to live. The owner invited us over to dinner some time but I don't think I'll take him up on it. There's nothing in that house for me now. Even the memories don't really fit anymore.
As for my relatives, the ones who went through so much trouble to take the house only to lose it? Their own lives are bad enough and karma has been taking it's due from them for almost 20 years. As for me, I can forgive them for what they did to me. I am the man I am because they locked me out of that house. I can even forgive them for thwarting my grandparents will, though, it would take something big on their part to make up for the pain, discomfort and humiliation they put my grandmother through. But I can never, EVER forgive them from stealing from my children.
Hopefully, the Despoina and the Duchess will never know about any of this in anything other than an academic way. They will have their own lives and their own joys and hurts. And, Jeebus willing and the crick don' rise, my anger will be forgotten, buried with my bones.
And that's all I have to say about that.
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