Monday, August 29, 2016

"It takes a heap o' livin' in a house to make it home"

In the words of poet Edgar Guest, "Home ain't a place that gold can buy or get up in a minute. A'fore it's  home there's got t' be a heap o' livin' in it." Few people know this better than Tom and Jean Cheetham of Australia. They moved into their first and only home in Sydney in 1938. There the happy and inseparable couple raised their family and lived contentedly until last year. When Tom was 103 and Jean was 100, they moved together into a nursing home and their beloved house was auctioned to help pay the bills. After 22 bids, it sold for $1.6 million. What made it so valuable?

It's one of very few properties in the neighborhood that was never renovated. It was impeccably neat and tidy, and still featured its original design and decor. From carpets to appliances to the smallest details, it was a pristine, nostalgic glimpse into the past. Heavy with priceless family memories, the sale was bittersweet for Tom and Jean's grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren. They all knew that, over the years as Jean grew more frail, Tom gladly took on the housework and gardening. In fact, he was mowing the lawn up to the day they moved out. When asked to give advice about love, he only said couples don't stay together anymore.  But he surely knew that in any marriage, only one person can be perfect, and it's always the one you love.

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