When Dickens wrote that.... he could never have known that he would be describing a 30 day window of my life.
Let me explain...
Last Saturday, September 26, we sold our family home at auction. A simple event really, all set in motion by your's truly after around nearly 3 years of planning. Time to let somebody else have the joy of living here and for Debra and I to move on to new home being built for us in Hendra.
Settlement is 30 days from date of sale.
All sounds simple enough.
But then with every cardboard box I pack with our stuff, I stop to think about what this house has meant to me this past 57+ years. Ever heard of buyer's remorse? Well I am suffering from seller's remorse!
So I have the excitement of a new home to look forward to... and the immense sadness of disposing of the family home for 3 generations of Taylors.
Hence... my own personal "Best of times, worst of times".
You see this house was unloved and un-lived in (if such a word exists) for nearly 3 years when my father bought it as our new family home in 1958. We spent that Easter moving in here. The place was dark, dirty and frankly scary to a small boy of 5 at the time.
But all that came to pass as Wally Henry made us a new bathroom and kitchen. Wally was a carpenter and I remember coming home from school in 1959 to the smell of fresh sawn timber. It must have been the first time I experienced that smell as it has stayed with me all theses years.
New friends came to visit me here.. the Clayfield Cowboys as big brother Max called us. Roaming the incredibly big back yard armed to the teeth with cap pistols with Roy Rogers face on the side. Days seem to last for ever. Sunny summers and bloody freezing winters. (Perhaps the winter of my discontent?)
The years went by... scooters gave out to bicycles to an old clapped out Mini to motorbikes and on it went. Friday nights spent as a newly minted teenager with an astronomical telescope out on the front lawn with my high school buddy Robert Fysh (Hi Rob.. see you when you get back mate) and all of those memories.... they are as clear to me now as if they happened last night.
1975 came around and found me on the first of my overseas jaunts. Man did the travel bug bite.. and hard. Over 40 trips in the past 40 years. I actually stopped counting at 40. But no matter where I roamed, 5 Armagh Street was the place I came home to. I was even married here in the lounge some 39 years ago. (Marriage number 1) As was my brother Paul some 3 years later.
I left this old home to move in with a group of girls at Red Hill.... and married one. From there houses at Wavell Heights and then Albion... but even though I lived away, this place was always my home.
Actually, it is the centre of my universe.
And now it will belong to another family. Because of my actions in selling it.
Strange how one can become attached to a building. In 1995 I was faced with the decision of moving in here again, or selling it. We chose moving in, although in my heart I knew that one day I would have to let it go.
These last 20 years have flown by in a heart beat.... and now that day has come.
It seems that I have been blessed with a great and very detailed memory. Recently I read in the paper of a guy who also has a memory that works like mine. Like me he remembers things from 30 or more years ago and others who were with him then, cannot remember that particular event. Now there is a name for people like us... with those great detailed memories... but funnily enough, I cannot remember what it is.
Anyhow... as that man discovered, as have I, that the downside of a great memory is that we also remember the sad things in our life in immense detail too.
And so it is with the leaving of this fine old home.
You see I remember so much about every Christmas, every barbecue, every party, wake, wedding and conversation etc and on it goes for the past 57 years.
Being a sentimental person can be a drag when you need to toughen up I can tell you.
Back to packing....
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times"..... and 57 years of my life covered by that phrase are about to come to an end at 5 armagh Street.