A House Remembered

Real Estate Agent with Savvy + Company Real Estate NC: 277197

I don’t know what made me think a house was forever. Perhaps I’ve imagined that only I am temporary. Death aside, I always seem to be.  Remember that adage that says ‘you can never go home again’ ? Well it’s true. Tonight I learned that my grandmother’s house burned down. I can barely swallow this charred truth.

Even though she has long since recycled back into the dust from which she came, I’d still return to visit Grandma back in tornado alley. Her soul danced among the flowers and cattails that graced the streambed that ran through her property. As a little girl, we used to rise long before the sun and sit beside the water awaiting it’s golden arrival. But first we did her hair.

Lightening bugs at the Monroe'sShe had the longest, blackest hair I have ever seen.  All the way down to her calves, it took 17 tortoise shell combs to mount her single braid into the Eiffel tower she wore for a hundred years. On hot nights, we caught lightening bugs - each delicately pushed into her hair to form her sparkly tiara. The rest went into our own braids, transforming each of us girls into her fairy maids. That’s what she called us.

Her castle was little more than a whitewashed shack. She alone had no cellar, though her house stood for more than a century while the resident mansions lost limbs to twisters. Somehow her humble little abode always managed to survive.

Until today.

What is it that imbues a house with such magic? The tenacity to weather storms, both external and internal? The irreverence to stand up against forces both seen and unseen that threaten to tear down the walls? God knows, I can barely remain standing when the winds of change threaten.

It’s the foundation, I’ve learned. And not the 12 inches on center post and beam, but the kind we build with love. The lasting kind. The kind that gives structure to who we are and stands as a monument to those who made us.

Forever will remain. Her house isn’t really gone after all.


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Sandra Cummings
William Raveis Real Estate - Guilford, CT
Real Estate Agent, Guilford Connecticut

My Jen - My grandmother's house was also a special place for me, for it never failed to provide me warmth and shelter from life's many storms. The house is still there, but I don't go back, for I am told it has changed and it would break my heart. But there are times when I need the love and comfort of that house, and when I do, I close my eyes and dream.


So Fairy Maid, the house will always be there, all you have to do is close your eyes and dream.


Feb 19, 2009 11:30 PM #9
Missy Caulk
Missy Caulk TEAM - Ann Arbor, MI
Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate

Awesome Jen. I have the best memories of being at my grandmama's house. They practically raised me before I started school. My dad was an only child so I was the girl they never had.

Loved the poem William contributed too. Wow.

Feb 20, 2009 12:26 AM #10
Jason Sardi
Auto & Home & Life Insurance throughout North Carolina - Charlotte, NC
Your Agent for Life

My Beautful Jennifer - What can I say?  Your writing is so far and beyond what I ever expected to read from anybody.  I truly meant what I said on my comment on your other post about your soul and the pen.  My own memories of my grandmother's house and the intoxicating scents of Italian Cuisine will forever be engraved in my own soul.  I look forward to making our home just as warm, with a bit of an edge of course:)

Feb 20, 2009 02:48 AM #11
Sara Goodwin
Ashcroft & Associates - Portland, OR
Portland, Oregon Appraiser

Ah Jennifer - I thought this would be about an entirely different house with a different outcome -

So sorry to hear about the house.  Truly ironic as my entire family has joked of throwing a match at my grandmother's house a couple of times. 

Some will disagree, but I think if a house isn't more than four walls and a roof, it certainly should be.

Feb 20, 2009 02:52 AM #12
Jeannie Kontis
Lancaster, PA

Oh my gosh, this was so beautiful.  It brought me back to brushing and braiding my grandmother's hair.  What was it with grandmothers and hair down to their calves?  She was so special to me ~ and I still miss her every day.  Thanks so much for sharing this with us.

Feb 20, 2009 03:04 AM #13
Jennifer Monroe
Savvy + Company Real Estate - Charlotte, NC
Real Estate REALTOR®/Broker in Beautiful Charlotte

Liz... That makes me smile... both for the kindness you intended and the pun itself. Clever girl!!

Feb 20, 2009 03:45 AM #14
Jennifer Monroe
Savvy + Company Real Estate - Charlotte, NC
Real Estate REALTOR®/Broker in Beautiful Charlotte

Aunt Karen... There is more fairy maiden in me than you know ;-) I'm glad you read me because you always seem to really understand the underlying message I try to convey.  MWA!

Feb 20, 2009 03:48 AM #15
Krista Fuchs
Prudential Fox & Roach - Exton, PA
Chester County Realtor - (484) 459-8025 - Home Buying and Selling

What an amazing writer you are!  This is my first time reading and you are truely amazing. My gramma's house is a little shack in the woods...more eerie now than magical unfortunately.

Feb 20, 2009 05:39 AM #16
Susan Mangigian
RE/MAX Preferred, West Chester, PA, RS152252A - West Chester, PA
Chester & Delaware County Homes, Delaware and Ches

Jenn, this was the most beautiful post, in my opinion, that you have ever written.  I can envision you with fireflies in your hair and your lovely grandmother's long hair.  In reading Jason's response to you, that is what I would say.  When I think of my grandmother's house, I think of the smell of her gravy (sauce) and pound cake with powdered sugar on top!  I'm sorry about the house, but it does live on in your heart and now in our minds due to your wonderful descriptive abilities!  xxoo

Feb 20, 2009 08:05 AM #17
Chris Fisher
Your Virtual Assistant - Concord, CA

Very beautiful Jennifer, I'm glad you shared this.  Even though I'm now crying. 

Feb 20, 2009 08:07 AM #18
Cynthia Tilghman, Realtor® Onslow County NC Home Specialist
Kingsbridge Realty, Inc - Hubert, NC

Your writing always touches a place deep inside me.  Things are temporary--memories are forever.

Feb 20, 2009 08:50 AM #19
Vicki Burton
Southport Realty-Southport, North Carolina - Southport, NC
A local Buyer's Agent - Southport NC Real Estate

Jennifer, you have a beautiful gift. I don't really know what to say. I haven't read one of your posts til now but I will. You know what life is all about.

Feb 20, 2009 11:50 AM #20
Keith Perry
Coldwell Banker - Hiram, GA
REALTOR - West Metro Atlanta

Hi Jen, thanks you for making me remember my great grandmother. As a little one all my aunts would gather to comb her hair (never cut). It took hours and would be woven after. She lived to be 98 and past on when I was seven.

Feb 21, 2009 07:39 AM #21
Jeff Belonger
Social Media - Infinity Home Mortgage Company, Inc - Cherry Hill, NJ
The FHA Expert - FHA Loans - FHA mortgages - USDA loans - VA Loans

Jen Jen... sorry that I am late to the poetic hour...  but you are a lovely writer.  And it brought back some memories of my grandparents house up in Wisconsin... a very unique, fun house, with many hiding places... and a big great climbing tree out back, near lake Michigan.

In any case, sorry about the house, but what a great ending so much truth to that and the foundation. Also, your grandmother had extremely long hair...wow.  thanks for sharing this and an excellent job.

jeff belonger

Feb 21, 2009 08:48 AM #22
Scott Geary
Infinity Home Mortgage Company Inc - Allentown, PA
Your Pennsylvania Mortgage Source

WOW! This post leaves me speechless, and moist eyed. Remembering grandma's house.......Thanks Jen! This is beautiful!

Feb 24, 2009 08:10 AM #23
Midori Miller
Talk 2 Midori, LLC - Daytona Beach, FL
Online Marketing For Real Estate Professionals

Some of the best times in my life were at my grandmother's house..I got your beautiful message..and I admit it left me teary eyed. Its amazing how our grandparents..impacted their grandchildren.   Fire flies...ahhhhh...what a memory! 

Feb 26, 2009 10:22 PM #24
"The Lovely Wife" (Broker Bryantnulls Wife) The One And Only TLW.
President-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc. - Kissimmee, FL


I can only hope that one day my own Grand Daughters (I have 4) will remember me with the same loving memories you have of your Grand Mother :)


Feb 28, 2009 09:05 AM #25
Amy Seaholt
RE/MAX Equity Group - Portland, OR
REALTOR, Portland Oregon

Hi Jennifer,

One of my very earliest memories is of my great grandmother Vovo's house. I actually don't even remember where it is, but that's kind of not the point, right? As you say, it will remain forever as part of your foundation.

Thanks for sharing this.


Feb 28, 2009 10:56 AM #26
Sheldon Neal
Bergen County, NJ - RE/MAX Real Estate Limited - Maywood, NJ
That British Agent Bergen County NJ

Jennifer - What poetic grace you have in your writing. You certainly dont need me to tell you that, but as this is one of the first posts I have read from you, I wanted to convey how magically whisked away I was for a few minutes into your grandma's fairy tale castle.

The home may no longer be standing - and that will tug at your heart every time you drive by it - but no fire can take away those fireflies and memories of watching the sunrise in that special surrounding.

I suddenly have a new little headshot to look for on my blog watch ...

Happy Memories...

Mar 08, 2009 04:06 PM #27
Russell Lewis
Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate - Austin, TX

Hey girl, I so loved this post and it evoked some long ago memories of my Grandparents home in West Texas, I have fond and even strange memories. Thanks for the tickling my thoughts! I hope you are doing well and figure you must be busy "fixin' to" as we sat in these parts, head east to be with your beloved. I've missed seeong you around and wish you the best on this fine St. Patricks evening!

Mar 17, 2009 02:28 PM #28
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Jennifer Monroe

Real Estate REALTOR®/Broker in Beautiful Charlotte
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