The other day I wrote a post about how the job market has changed from when my parents and grandparents were working. And that got me to thinking about a few things. You know, dear reader, my grandma — my mom’s mom — she worked. I never thought it was strange because she just… worked for as long as I knew her, and that was the norm for us. It’s it weird how what’s normal in our childhood world just feels “right” sometimes. Like, I thought everyone’s mom and grandmom worked. Grandma worked at the local salmon canning factory. I should preface this by saying I come from a young family. My grandma started popping out kids when she was seventeen, my mom when she was nineteen. I was eighteen, and my daughter was sixteen. So I’m fifty-three now which makes my mom about 72, and my grandma about 89, if I did my math correctly. I was born in the mid-sixties, so my mom was born in the late forties I wanna say and my grandma around 1930… I guess. Which means having Grandma work, even though it didn’t seem strange to me, it wasn’t a common thing. Women just didn’t work back then. Of course, my family isn’t exactly conventional. You know?
My mom’s parents were also divorced. I always knew my mom’s mom as Grandma C~ who was married to Grandpa C~ — my mom’s stepdad. My mom’s dad was Grandpa A~. He also remarried, but we never called his wife “Grandma A~” because she didn’t like the idea of being called “Grandma” so we called her by her first name — MaryAnne. My mom’s parents lived on opposite sides of Oregon. Grandpa built and ran a dairy farm in Northeast Oregon for most of his life. Grandma and Grandpa C~had a house on the coast of Oregon and as far as I know, Grandma C~ still lives there with her new-ish husband (whom I’ve never met so I don’t know his name). Grandpa C~ passed away a few years back of a heart attack. As far as I know, she stayed on in the house they had. It’s a beautiful house. No reason to move. And that’s what got me thinking… People of my grandparent’s generation, they bought or built their homes and they moved in to stay. Grandpa A~, he built his house… I’ve only been there a couple of times, but I remember it being very beautiful and sturdy. Grandma and Grandpa C~, they didn’t build their house, but they bought it and maintained it for decades. I visited them more often and I have a lot of fond memories of that house. It is an awesome home. The idea back then was to build a home that lasts generations. A home that one would pass down to one’s kids — or to someone in the family. But, it seems that’s not the way things work nowadays. As with all things, ideas change.
We’re a much more mobile society than we were a few generations ago. I know my family is. My mom joined the Navy, like, in the 1960’s y’all. Way unusual for women back then. Even after she had kids, divorced and got married again, she didn’t move back “home” near her parents. I know she still got along with them a little because she visited them from time to time. Not a lot because we were poor as dirt and the trip from California to Oregon was pretty pricey, but I remember visiting my grandparents as a kids. Then again, maybe she didn’t get along with them and just visited them out of obligation. What do I know? I was a child. Anyway, it’s been my experience that kids these days grow up, move on, start their own families and don’t need the houses their parents have — that’s been my observation. Yours, dear reader, might be different. Every single time I’ve seen someone inherit a house — and I’m 53 years old, I’ve seen this a lot — they’ve stripped it of anything of sentimental (or monetary) value, slapped some paint on it and sold it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone move into their parent’s house after inheriting it. Like… ever. Maybe that’s just my experience. I dunno. Like I said, your mileage may vary. But society is changing around us.
All of my life, until I met Douglas, I lived in rentals — mostly apartments. Despite what Hollywood would have y’all believe, dear reader, poor people as a general rule, do not own homes. Banks will not give mortgages to people who cannot afford them. It’s really that simple. Anyway, after meeting Douglas, we dipped our toes into home ownership, and we fell flat on our face. Our first home was fine, but Doug and I had a bit of a miscommunication. I thought we’d buy cheap and fix the place up to how we wanted it. Doug thought we’d buy a house and live in as-is. It was early in our relationship, and we were still working out the kinks in our communication style. ^_^ This house… well the less said about this house the better. It was a siren’s song, and I had big dreams… and there was still a whole lot of miscommunication going on. Plus, this place — I dunno if it’s the house, the city or the general area — has really caused my health to plummet. But the long and short of it is, we bit off more than we could chew. And me being sick just didn’t help. But that’s neither here nor there. This is our second house in six years. I don’t even know if that’s normal or not. I know that my mom bought one house and stayed in it for decades. My grandparents are still in their respective homes as far as I know. People of my generation, we bought a house to settle down. Owning a home used to mean not having to move again, unless the bank came knocking on the door for back payment. You know?
And yet here we are, dear reader, facing the prospect of packing everything up and moving again. I am trying to control my urge to throw/give everything away or sell it all because that’s how I move. But Douglas is too attached to his stuff. I’ll never understand this whole being attached to… things. Yeah, sure nostalgia and all that. But I don’t have a strong sense of nostalgia I guess. Anyway, we’re once again getting our stuff together in preparation to move… somewhere. Wherever the work is. I like owning a home because then we can have as many pets as the law allows and we don’t have to worry about rules and regulations of the landlord. But the downside is, if something breaks, we’ve gotta pay for fixing it, and there’s that whole maintaining the house thing… But there’s good and bad to everything. Not owning a home makes it way easier to move too. Don’t have to worry about selling the house. Of course that was kind of the point of buying a house in the first place. We were supposed to be settling down. Retiring. Living out the rest of our lives here. Like my grandparents with their homes… though we really don’t have anyone to pass a house onto. My kids are grown and gone and living their own lives. What are they gonna do with a house in the sticks?
It’s weird how much can change in just a few years.