A room with a view


    If the title sounds familiar, it is because it was also the title of a classic love story written by E.M. Forster. Rooms with a view are part of my own love story, my love of children, that is. I do not understand people who say they don’t want children. I know raising a child is expensive these days, and that children can break your heart, but they are never boring, that’s for sure!
    When we moved from California to Atlanta, we saw a FOR SALE sign in the front yard of a house that looked big enough to accommodate us. We needed enough bedrooms for four children, as well as a guest room for family members, who were sure to want to visit now that we were no longer on the other side of the country. When I saw the Chattahoochee River running past the backyard, that settled it. The Chattahoochee connected me with Florida, where I grew up, giving me the feeling of being back home again.
    The downside of the house was a tiny kitchen, but we set to work enlarging it. The only thing left of the original kitchen was the window over the sink, but it gave a good view of the backyard. From there, I could see what our children and their friends were “up to.” With three boys and just one daughter, we had far more young boys than girls hanging out back there, so we put up a basketball goal, a boxing bag and a trampoline, which our daughter could also enjoy.
    I spent a lot of time at the kitchen sink, and if I saw an argument brewing, I could step outside and either settle it or send the perpetrators home. Once the neighborhood kids knew I would not accept bad behavior, there was no more trouble. After they grew up, the neighborhood kids continued to stop by and say hello when they were back in the area, visiting their families.
    Some did not need to visit, because one became our dentist, another my surgeon, and the youngest our eye doctor. Floating down the river on innertubes was a popular activity in summer months, and I often saw those kids get out of the river in our backyard, because they knew it would be OK with us.
    Now, our favorite view is of the house across the street and of the street itself. Our swivel chairs face both the TV in the corner of the family room, but also give us a view of neighbors walking their dogs at least twice a day. One small dog has such short legs that he is hard put to keep up with his young owners. He is required to move so fast that his legs are a blur, making him look as though he has eight legs instead of just four. I call him the caterpillar dog.
    Before the virus hit, we had wonderful neighbors. J.D. and Betsy Childress, who built a huge and beautiful house across the street from ours. Their children, Lyla and Paran, had J.D. hang a swing from a tree in their front yard, so soon, the yard was filled with children, much like our backyard used to be. The parents of the kids lingered longer when they came to pick up their children, and at the end of the day, there were as many adults hanging out on the front porch as there were children frolicking on the lawn.
    When I told Paran how much I enjoyed watching her do cartwheels, she said she would make sure she did at least three cartwheels a day just for me. Lyla wanted to do something for me too, so she wrote a little book titled, The Giraffe and dedicated it to me. Sadly, their family moved to Colorado and there is a new family in the house they built.
    The virus hit just as the new family moved in, so we have not had the opportunity to get to know them, but we see everything that happens in their front yard. Every day, they get boxes delivered to their house, and Dan and I are baffled as to how there can possibly be room for any more stuff. There are sixteen steps up to their front door, and the drivers who bring the boxes are clearly getting tired of climbing all those steps every day. Yesterday, one driver, looked up at the porch, and as it was not raining, he decided the owners could climb those sixteen steps, not him. He left the box on the bottom step and drove off.
    The owners need not worry, though. If anyone tried to steal their box, Dan and I would probably catch the thief in the act and warn him that he was being watched. Rooms with a view can be useful too.


    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here