Years ago, my parents began working with an architect to build a majestic home in Hinsdale. It sat on an intimidating plot of land in the center of town, made of the finest materials and designed to sell.
We were living across the train tracks at the time, a very sweet French Country home on Hampton Place. This new house on Washington Street was in an entirely different league. Although my parents’ intention was to list it, they eventually decided we would move in.
The Washington Street house built me. I spent my high school years there, years that were far from perfect, but spent in a perfect place. Our house was my sanctuary – if I was upset, I could watch a movie in “The Cave”, the basement theater aptly named by one of my friends. If I needed quiet study time, I could retreat to the third floor. If I wanted to watch a thunderstorm, I could grab a blanket and sit on the porch.
But the house wasn’t only mine. It became a gathering place for my friends and I. The big front door was always opening and closing, and noisily, at that. During the summer, we would eat Popsicles on the porch, and during the winter, we would lay under blankets in “The Cave”.
My parents sold the house just before I headed off to college, and I hadn’t been back there since.
Until last weekend.
Dawn McKenna asked if I’d host an open house there, and I didn’t hesitate for a second. I arrived early on Sunday afternoon, grabbed the key from the lockbox and anxiously let myself in. My heart was pounding. I slammed the custom mahogany front door behind me — the same sound I remembered hearing all of those years.
Don’t cry, I told myself. Hold yourself together.
I practically ran through the empty house, taking photos and reminiscing. When I got to my old bedroom, the waterworks came. This was where I agonized over high school dances, celebrated when I was accepted to the University of Illinois, filmed funny videos with my best friend, and wrote columns and blog posts late at night.
I stood in this home on Sunday not as a resident, but as a realtor, and that was a strange feeling. I never expected the twists and turns that led me here, but that’s the thing about life — it is most certainly an adventure. The Washington Street house was just a chapter, and I will always look back fondly on the years my family spent there.