In March 2012 I found myself scrolling through pictures of houses in Pretoria. My late husband and I had been engaged for almost a year and with our wedding drawing nearer we decided to look for a new home. At that stage we lived in Douglasdale in Johannesburg. Neither of us liked Johannesburg but we had started our jobs in that city so it made sense to live there. “I would love to find somewhere to live here that is like Brooklyn (in Pretoria)” he had said. This prompted me, out of curiousity, to look up some houses for sale in both Brooklyn and Waterkloof. Beautiful old suburbs of Pretoria. As I was scrolling through the feed of houses for sale a photo of one caught my eye. It was a photograph of an indoor garden with wooden beams above. The photos that were to follow blew my mind. I couldn’t believe a house like this existed in South Africa. It was a beautiful post modern style, architecturally designed house and it was affordable for us at that stage. I showed him the photos that night and he jumped up from his chair and said “Phone the estate agent. Phone her now. We need that house.”
The next day was a Friday and that afternoon we met her on the street and followed her down a long steep driveway. Once we walked in to the house we were both left speechless. We walked around the property in complete silence. Afraid to speak in case it was not all real. We were both blown away. Below are the original listing photos.
After we viewed the whole property we went for coffee with the Estate Agent and walking from the car we looked at each other and both said “We need to buy this house!” Twenty minutes later we signed an offer to purchase above asking price. Sounds crazy but there was already an offer on the house and we needed to make sure we got it. Long story short, after a month of fighting for the house our offer was accepted, our bond approved, and our forever home (as we liked to call it) was going to be ours.
Everything worked out in those few months as I began working on a project in Pretoria and his business moved to Kyalami. Before the transfer took place, we liked to house stalk the property every weekend. We would stand at the top of the driveway and look down. We would drive to the other side of the ridge and look across. We couldn’t wait. The day we received the keys we spent the night on the floor in the lounge in front of the fire eating pizza. We couldn’t believe we had found this amazing house.
Years before we had watched a movie called ‘A Single Man’ and the house featured on this movie became his dream. It was a house built by John Lautner who was an apprentice to Franklin Lloyd Wright and had built some of the most beautiful and widely recognized houses in America.
He always said to me that one day he wants to live in a house like that. And boy did our dreams come true. The house we had moved in to was similar and yet so much more. An amazing location, an amazing view and an amazing life was lived in that house. He loved it so much that he had it tattooed on his leg. He tattooed the picture of the house from the bottom, the owls that used to visit, the bamboo, the moon rising and the Hercules Military Aircraft flying over, you can even see our shadows in the lounge where we spent most of our time. The Hercules would fly over every week, sometimes at dusk and it was one of the many incredible events we enjoyed living in this house. I could write a very long book about the almost six years I spent calling that house my home. It truly was a wonderful time even though I spent the most wonderful and most difficult year of my life there.
It took me two years after he died before I decided to sell our house. It was time though for me to move forward. The house was a large part of my healing journey however this very journey required me to move on from the house. I found an amazing and understanding Estate Agent that knew the value in my house was not only monetary. I jokingly mentioned that it would be wonderful if someone I knew bought the house. And someone did. The universe aligned and I cannot count my blessings enough. The new listing photos below courtesy of Lew Geffen Sothebys again.
The time had come to start decluttering. A previous post about how initially I was completely overwhelmed can be found here. However I had made my choice and I had to unpack and clear and sell and donate and store only the truly special and sentimental items. It took just over two months but somehow we made it. My mother and I managed to unpack and clear an entire house and decades worth of stuff that had moved with me over the years. I plan to write a post about how we achieved this. I also plan to write about how I transitioned NM, my daughter, through all this. Hold me to that please.
The time had come and on Valentines Day 2018 we moved out. We have a plan to stay with friends here and there and go on a holiday before eventually we travel to our new country. I thought I would cry. I thought I would be sad to say goodbye but I was not. I was at peace because the couple who bought my home will truly make it their own and love it the way we did. I know my late husband was at peace about the decision to sell and move forward for many reasons as there were so many signs which I believe in. One was, as the new owner arrived to receive the keys from me, the Hercules flew over the house. Everything had worked out the way it was meant to.
A life lived there is now becoming a story told. We had moved in. We have now moved out and as we are moving forward the chorus from my favourite Kenny Chesney song comes to mind (and yes I love country music).
“It was my life and it was fun
Another season of my life is done
Another race I’m glad I got to run
Another chapter of my life is over
No I’m never gonna feel like that again
Time’s rushing by me like the wind
Never be as young as I was then
no I’m never gonna feel like that again
It’s my life and it’s sure fun
Another season of my life’s begun
Another race I’m glad I get to run
another chapter of my life I’m writing
No I’m never gonna feel like this again
Time’s rushing by me like the wind
Got to grab each moment that I can
Cause I’m never gonna feel like this again”
I am not sad because I will never feel like that again. I am happy because I got to live and feel and experience life there. I look forward to feeling new things and making new memories and going on a new journey. I look forward to moving forward and writing my new chapter.
Let chapter 1 begin…