40 Greenbrier

In an earlier post I talked about how my latest house is finally the home I feel at home in.  I want to go back and look at my earlier houses and what they meant.

I had lived in dorms, and later, in an apartment and then a condo with my girlfriend.  But at least 3 years had passed since she and I had broken up.  I had moved back home to my parents house temporarily because I couldn’t afford to live on my own.

Late in my 27th year I met my wife.  We were married 5 months after our first date.  (Wow!  And it’s been 11 years!)

Our first house was in a neighborhood we loved in Hampton, Virginia right along the Chesapeake Bay. 

I had grown up in part of Hampton (until about age 7) when we moved to the next nearest town called Newport News.  I was born in Newport News at Riverside Hospital.  And as anyone who knows Tidewater, Virginia, the cities tend to blend into one long sprawl–stretching from Richmond all the way down to Virginia Beach.

While we were engaged we began looking for a house.  I don’t remember if we knew we could not afford to buy a house (most likely) or if there were just none available.  But I remember driving up and down Chesapeake Ave looking for places for rent.

Finally, we saw it.  A cute brick Cape Cod on a quiet street.  We called the landlord (who it turned out, lived next door) and asked to see it.  Once we saw the wood floors and the “Teresa” doors.  (rounded at the top and short enough that my 5’2″ wife could stand in the doorway…ok it was a closet) we were sold.  Well, that and the 1950s pink and green tile in the bathroom.  And the red and white galley kitchen.  We were in love–with each other and this charming house.

Life was like spring.  Everything was new.  Everything was exciting. 

We still look back on that house as some of the happiest times of our marriage.  I did feel very at home at 40 Greenbrier.  But, it was not our house.  We loved our landlord, Steve.  He was great.  but we still had to ask permission to do anything.  We put in flower beds running up our walkway.  I remember planting Habanero peppers in the front bed.  We painted some of the inside white walls.  We were particularly enamoured of our choice of deep red and tan in the dining room. 

Our landlord wanted to sell the house to us once we told him we were looking for a place to buy.  But he wanted too much for it (we thought).  I think he was asking about $85,000. 

We made friendships and met neighbors in that house that have stayed with us all these years, even though we now live 3,000 miles away.

Elsa officially became my dog too and we adopted her brother, Alexander in that house.  That was the first house Alex ever jumper the fence at.  He went missing overnight, only to turn up sad and dejected looking the next day at the SPCA.

It was a wonderful and sweet time in our lives.



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