Last week a for-sale sign appeared on the sloping front yard of a brick bungalow, its overgrown hedges creeping above the windowsills. Next to the driveway stood a seven-foot-tall holly tree that gleamed beneath the warming sun. Cicadas droned.

In late August guys with 1-800-Got-Junk emptied the bungalow of its 1950s style furniture, trash bags, and so much more. The opened front door seemed to gasp. Blinds covered every window.

During walks on this street, I had spotted this white-haired owner sunning on her front porch, her cane perched next to her. We smiled. Other times, a younger woman guided her steps toward her waiting car, parked on the street. Neighbors took care of her grass, cleared snow from her sidewalk, and helped with groceries.

Her empty bungalow, like countless others, built in Brentwood as starter-homes for veterans returning from World War II, moved me. Did she pass on or was she placed in a nursing home? Whatever, she had let go of her textured life among us and took her history with her. Others, perhaps with toddlers, will create a home in her bungalow.

Such stories prod me to keep my stuff in good order, mindful of those who will clean up after me.

 

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