How do you let go emotionally of your precious childhood home? Especially when our home is a unique work of art that inspired both its hippie builder and my mom to write a book about it.
It’s so stunning that every friend that ever visited for the first time commented on it in awe. So did Mom’s funeral director when he came to take away her body last October.
It’s tough to trust that special place and all its happy memories to a simple real estate transaction and unknown buyers. Will they love and appreciate the house the way Mom and I did? Will the new owner fix it up and give it their own brand of loving personality? Or will they only want the land, scheduling a demolition crew to tear down those dreams to the foundation?
It’s not something I get to control. Writing about my thoughts makes it a little easier to process my grief and successfully move forward.
Mom’s second property, a warehouse / future art studio, is being sold also. I loved her dreams for that place. She imagined it having rooms and areas for creating all sorts of art, with classes and gallery events. She had wonderful memories of her time as a student at Penland School of Craft up north and wanted to make a similar art retreat and school in Jefferson County.
Part of me wishes I could go back there, create some sort of arts foundation like the Grassroots Art Guild she started in the ’70s, and help make her art studio dream happen after all.
I actually think her gorgeous artsy house in the woods would have made an even better art school and retreat than the warehouse downtown. The house has three stories and eleven levels, all hand crafted by a visionary artist who used recycled materials to complete it, including wood from a historic Florida State University building.
The main living room and fire pit area is open all three stories to the roof, with a cool, slatted catwalk area partway up where Mom’s plants sat and cascaded to the room below. I remember the year we had to walk out on there to decorate the tallest Christmas tree we’d ever experienced inside a home, and still couldn’t reach the top. It’s gorgeous and unlike anything you’ve ever seen.
It’s fun to imagine how much joy Mom would have had leading classes and working on projects in a creative place like that with other artsy folks. She paused the art studio idea to finish her big book project, but then soon afterward she ran out of energy, health and time.
During many of those later years I was away, busy building a big family and life of my own far out of state. My sisters, brother, stepdad, even Mom’s friends and hired help probably got to be more involved in Mom’s life and dream building than I did. Realizing this, it feels childish and selfish to be struggling with letting go. Maybe my heart wants to try to fix the regret and in some desperate way recreate what has been lost.
The art studio was the one big project she didn’t finish. There were so many other fantastic ideas over the years that she brought to fruition. Much of the time, I was her little sidekick tagging along. She was quite a powerhouse and full of spunk. I love and miss her and am so proud of her. I hope I can leave beautiful, inspiring things in the world in her honor.
Let’s all go be creative and build things, and enjoy this beautiful, wonder-full world, okay?