Chasing A Dream: It’s More Than Just a House


This Little Home Has Seen So Much Love

This Little Home Has Seen So Much Love

When I tell you that part of chasing my dream is selling my home—which I have now done—most folks will think “ah, it’s just a house.”   But my home has been so much more than a house to me, and this posting is a celebration of the little condo I’ve called home for almost 30 years.

Single and Scared

When I bought my little home, I was a scared-to-death single mother with a daughter whom I had been told would not walk.  We were living in a one-bedroom furnished apartment I could hardly afford.  Even by 1984 standards and even though it was in Green Hills, it was an “inexpensive” place to live, but I made so little money in comparison to the medical bills we had that I was struggling to keep my head above water.  Dana’s bedroom was a walk-in closet which I had decorated by painting a window on one wall (with trees outside the window and a flower pot of geraniums sitting on the window sill (a bee tasting the nectar of the flowers)).  Her little fold-up bed fit perfectly alongside her toy box, and there were shelves for her stuffed animals.  It was perfect for a 4-year-old, but I honestly could not see a future where I could afford anything larger, much less the deposits I’d have to pay if we moved.  Not to mention purchasing furniture—I literally had only a rocking chair and a washing machine.

The worst part of living in that apartment was that the landlords wanted us to move.  I can’t blame them, really, I was so broke that my rent was always late, and I could barely afford to keep my utilities on.  They could have likely rented to an older and mature professional  who paid rent timely and was a much better housekeeper than I, but I was unable to see further than paycheck-to-paycheck living.  I couldn’t afford to move.  I was giving it all I had and trying so very hard to take care of my little family.  Without a college education, no help from her father, a low-paying job with great benefits, and medical bills that would have challenged the financial resources of the Vanderbilts, it was a tremendous struggle.

And so began the subtle efforts to force us out of our little Green Hills apartment home.  For example, they stopped fixing things.  It didn’t matter to them that I had to constantly “jiggle” the handle of the toilet; it didn’t matter to them that the air conditioner only spit out slightly cooled air, and when the winter set it, it didn’t matter to them that every time the wall heater came on, it smelled like a fire.  I was terrified.  The heater popped and made noises, and each time it came on, I thought the house was burning.  They wouldn’t fix it because they wanted me to move, and I couldn’t afford to move, so I was literally a victim in a home in which I felt terrified.

Each night, Dana would go to bed at around 7:30, and would soon be sound asleep.  When I went to bed later, I would carry my sleeping daughter to my bed to sleep with me because I needed her beside me in case the house caught fire in the night.  I could not bear the thought that the house might burn and only one of us manage to escape the flames.  Did I say I was TERRIFIED?

That actually was the story of my life.  I was constantly terrified:  TERRIFIED I couldn’t pay my bills, TERRIFIED of the process servers knocking on my door, TERRIFIED I would lose one of my four jobs, and TERRIFIED that the house would burn.

A Newspaper Ad Led to Purchasing my Home

Then I saw an advertisement in the newspaper about a home “perfect for a single mother” with “payment according to your income.”  What?  I called and talked with the newly-married mother who was selling her home.  She had married a successful professional and needed to sell the little condominium where she and her son had lived.  I was skeptical, but I went to take a look.  Oh, it was CUTE.  There were two bedrooms, a bright, sunny front room, and a place where Dana could play.  The seller assured me I could afford it and she and her husband would carry a promissory note for my downpayment, where I would pay them twice yearly when I got my bonus at Nissan.  I bought a home.

My Haven and My Sanctuary

I had NEVER expected to be able to purchase a home, and suddenly I went from terrified single mother sleeping with a daughter to keep from burning up in the night to being a HOMEOWNER.  Okay, yes, I was still terrified of all the other stuff, but Dana (and I) were safe and had our own rooms.  We lived in a neighborhood of families, where Dana would have playmates in our own front yard.  I met another single mother, Janet, who became a close friend (and is someone I love even to this day), and Dana had a new buddy, her son Randy, a cute little red-haired guy.

For the first time in a very long time, I FELT SAFE.  I had a safe home for my child.  I had my own little slice of the world, a haven and sanctuary.

My little condo has seen the best and worst of my life.  It’s been like an old friend, offering comfort and warmth, providing a place for entertainment or a spot to grieve.  It’s been a place to laugh and love and spend time with friends and family or curled up alone with a good book.

As I place my condo in my past and embrace my future, there will be tears.  I am happy to greet the future where dreams come true, and I am happy that we have sold the little home where I have spent more than half my life.  And I hope the new owners know that they’re getting a home that’s known a whole lot of love.

DREAM BIG!  It costs the same as a tiny little dream.


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