I have rarely, if ever, wondered about the folks who lived in my wife’s home after she left. But this past weekend, my wife and I attended a meeting of the past and present owners of my wife’s former home in Atlanta, Georgia.
My wife’s family finished building the house in 1938 (when she was 7) and they remained there until 1960, when another family took over. After about 1970, there was a 10-year period of rapid turnover—during which four families lived there—after which one large family occupied the house for 37 years until the current owner moved in a year ago.
My initial reaction to the idea of participating in such a “union” was so what. I did, however, want to support my wife’s interest in participating.
It turned out to be fun, interesting, and worth the effort and time put into the event.
The four participating families were different in many ways, BUT they shared a love for a very special house and the seven acres of low-lying pastures on which it stands.
It was interesting to see and hear about the different perceptions from these folks. For example, to hear why one family took out a window to make a closet after an earlier family wondered aloud where it had gone, was fascinating. They all discussed a love of horses, except for the one family, who owned “Morris the Horse” simply as a symbolic gesture of appreciation of the pastures.
In this moment when Americans are being pulled apart in so many ways, it was heartwarming to see how a group of such people could bond so quickly around their shared history regardless of today’s politics.
We all share in an awfully abstract 220 years of simply being Americans.
Perhaps an idea like this could spread and remind more people of their more tangible common bonds to give a reason to bond besides simply being Americans?