730 Broadway, Haverhill MA, was an important address for countless people. Jim and I lived there for 10 years, preceded and followed by many West Church pastors and assorted friends.
Built in 1856, the house had character. On the cold, November day we moved in, this radiator gave welcome. The stone foundation let in a snake or two, and the dark, dank basement was the perfect setting for catacomb services.
The bedrooms were laid out strangely, with two rooms in the back that had not been touched since the early 1900s. We fixed one as a guest bedroom, and that’s where Lilly Gustafson was napping when I found and returned to her the lost, loose diamond that had fallen from her ring. A priceless moment!
Our annual Christmas Open House involved lots of decorating, baking, and loving on parishioners who loved us back. Hugely fun, with folks coming and going until finally, I could settle into silence and beauty, with a small plate of goodies in hand.
We held choir rehearsals in the living room. Very pregnant during one of them, I went into labor, and a neighbor came to babysit while we welcomed son Lee.
Our three kids did their major growing up in that house. We laughed and played and chased each other. We didn’t do everything right, but our children look back fondly on those developing years. One incident will live in infamy:
We drove up the driveway, just in time to see Rachel go after Eric with an umbrella. We gave her what-for, only to find out that it was Eric’s badgering that had driven her to violence.
When Jim resigned as pastor and morphed into his teaching career, we left the parsonage, but walking out the kitchen door that last time made us very sad. It was an old house with many deficiencies, but it had been a treasured home for each of us.
I wept that day, but life goes on. The house had ministered to many pastors, along with countless young people and other lay folk. And now it has been laid to rest.
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What building in your life would you hate to see crumble? Comment below, or email email@example.com