I Give Up

Insomnia is an evil, evil thing.,

It’s 3 a.m. I woke up about 90 minutes ago and haven’t been able to get back to sleep. I tried all the usual tricks: clearing my head, consciously staring into the black void, counting my breaths, counting backward from 1000, and going to my virtual “happy place.” I even took a goddamned Benadryl as a last resort and nothing. I reached the point where I couldn’t get comfortable (one dog was planted firmly at shoulder level between Ben and I and refused to move), and was just tossing and turning. I didn’t want to disturb Ben any more than I already had, so I decided to follow some advice I’d read once upon a time and just get up for a bit.

I’m hoping it works. Otherwise I’m  facing having to function tomorrow on 3 hours sleep.

Among the many thoughts that poured into my head while I lay there in the dark was something I’d wanted to do for some time: pass on some history.

If you aren’t the first owner/occupant of your current house, how cool would it be to receive an envelope in the mail from a previous occupant, chock full of photos of the house in years gone by—or even better, when it was new—along with a letter passing on some stories of things that happened while they lived there? I know I’d think it was the coolest thing ever.

I realized that one of the gifts of age is my ability to now do that for someone else. Actually, four someones. Two of the homes my family owned while I was growing up were brand new when we moved in. A third (a 1930s era bungalow now in a much sought-after historic district in central Phoenix) was only about thirty years old when we lived there. And finally, while I obviously have no “new” photos of the 200-plus year old farmhouse my grandparents owned in upstate Massachusetts from the 1950s to the 1970s, I do have many photos from that period as well as a few from the early 20th century that they’d acquired while living there.

All these photos are already scanned; all I have to do is print them out, write some letters, and mail them off.

People always say, “If these walls could talk.” Well, I have in my power in at least four cases to compel that.