5 Newton Street – a Love Story

5 Newton Street,

Cambridge, MA 02139

It was ten and a half years ago when I first walked through your front door. I will never forget the day – December 18, and Boston was experiencing the worst winter they had had in five years. Snow was piled high around you – your porch barely passable – and it was so cold.

My oldest daughter, who had moved to Boston a couple of months before, came running out your door, capturing me with one of her famous hugs. She hugs like she means it, like she’ll never, ever let you go and it is bliss.

And then I walked through the white painted door and into your long hallway.

You and me….we were an arranged marriage of sorts. You had good bones and I had a good family, and we grew to love each other.

We met each other, shy at first, neither of us were sure of each other. After all, we found each other on Craigslist, and all I knew was that you claimed to be “sunny and bright”. I was moving from Phoenix, Arizona to a bitter cold Northeast winter. You had no idea how much I needed bright and sunny. That first night I think you sized me up and decided that I would do. Admittedly, it took me a while longer.

I traded in a large, open floor plan, designer paint, and a sparkling, blue pool for a city condo with noisy upstairs neighbors. Our oversized, Arizona furniture cramped your style; our massive candle sticks had to find another home. I fought with you for more space, cursing your small corners, but you didn’t budge.

But we began to live together and slowly, like an arranged marriage, I began to love you.

I began to love your location, so close to everything! With you I could walk everywhere! Grocery store, pharmacy, subway – even the beautiful Charles River with its banks that changed with the seasons. I painted your walls and hung pictures that made you shine. I draped white lights on your porch, a bright beacon in the sometimes dark nights of life. I plumped pillows on couches and put furniture in your rooms.

And we began to live, really live within your walls. You began to know our family and your halls and walls heard our laughter and held our tears. Thanksgivings, Christmases, and Easter celebrations brought people from all over the world into your safety and joy. We played games and discussed politics; dyed Easter eggs and carved pumpkins; brought Christmas trees from the Boston Tree Company, and lit candles amidst holiday sparkle. You gave space for graduation celebrations and expanded as our family grew.

It wasn’t all sparkle. You heard sadness and witnessed anger; sometimes our tears were more than we could bear and you held us in safety when we couldn’t let the wider world know what was going on. But still, you and we held on.

And now, we are taking you – our home – and turning you back into a house. If I wasn’t so busy, and if I didn’t know that this next step is a good and important one, it would break me.

You, with your old wood floors and your non updated bathrooms, hold the magic of Home. And you are being stripped of that magic by me – your nomadic love.

I’m so sorry. You’ve been so good to us. You have loved us well through over ten years of life. You have been a place of safety, joy, and laughter.

Your walls will hold our family stories forever and, like a dear and loyal friend, keep them safe.

Your windows bear the marks of our noses, pressed against them looking out onto the world.

Your hallway and stairwell will echo our footsteps, like ghosts coming back for one last look.

And your porch? Your porch will carry the magic of late summer night laughter and conversation, the sounds of the city a musical background.

You have loved us well dear house. You have loved us well.

And now, I say goodbye. May the joy and grace that has held us be passed on to those coming through your doors.

Goodbye 5 Newton. I will always love you.

13 thoughts on “5 Newton Street – a Love Story

  1. Oh Marilyn, I am bawling as I finish that such heart felt love story….You have ‘such a gift’ for expressing your thoughts that everyone can identify with them. I was reading to Fred while we are driving across Wyoming to Yellowstone. He thinks you should submit this to be published. Love You 🦋

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your blogs always touch the places in my heart that I guard because in the poignancy I always feel the pain and grief of the loss. You seem to be able to feel the happiness and goodness as well. God Bless you in this next part of your life’s journey. Sorry we couldn’t be at church to say goodbye in person.
    See you in the summer!
    Love, Ruth


  3. Ah, Marilyn, how does nearly every single post you make hit home for this TCK? You are so gifted in expressing feelings of people and place, and feelings of people and place are critical to a TCK. So funny, after many years I am finally learning the importance of home. It’s also fascinating in that we moved “back east” after 10 years in SoCal (San Diego — 10 miles inland so really a desert in spite of all news to the contrary) to a 100-year old slightly creaky house in Maryland near the Chesapeake Bay, a house with loads of stories waiting to be added to its walls. Never before have I lived where I wonder what might be “inside” the walls. There have been tradeoffs (our furniture won’t fit the skinny floor plan, we have no parking, and we have more walls than windows). In between these houses, we lived in a very sunny apartment (half the apartment was basically 50-year old glass, facing south) on a creek running into the Chesapeake, where I met and made amazing friendships with some of the most lovely people I have ever met, of various ages and stages. It was even sweeter as these people really were like cheerleaders for our teenagers, something I have never really experienced. We have been so blessed in crazy ways we could have never predicted or planned for. Too much serendipity to catalog. For the first time in my life, my peregrine ways feel almost too subdued (although we recently reveled in a short and unassuming vacation in Miami where we didn’t even have to use English).

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  4. Thank you, Marilyn for this lovely description of your 10 years at no. 5 Newton. One of the things that I remember is your old and very steep front porch steps! And they seemed to get steeper every time we came to visit. The places we make into homes in this pilgrim life hold so many memories, and as you write they “keep them safe.” And I’m positive that God has gone before you and you will make a special home there. You will have to send lots of pictures because I don’t think it likely that I will be coming for a visit, except in my dreams. Love you so much.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Heart and soul made 5 Newton a home. All that is embedded in your being from those years will serve you well as once again you create home. God bless you and Cliff in this move.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh, my.  You do know how to stir up TEARS.  Now it’s time for a NEW HOME for you.  I try to imagine what it will be like.  But you will make it HOME and it will become precious to you.  May God grant you His joy and peace, and CONTENTMENT in your new place.


    Liked by 1 person

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