By Janice R. Edwards
Here I sit in our house on the San Bernard, surrounded by our lives in pieces.
Some pieces are packed in big boxes – and some in small. Some pieces are waiting to be packed the day before we move. I don’t think anything is worse than sitting in between what was and what is to be. But we need to close on the new house - my storybook house – before we can go much further. I see every day more and more changes I need to attend to before we’re settled in the new house, but we can’t move on them until that move is official. And so, we wait.
The plan to move tears at the heartstrings; parts of us are still happy here on the river, and we never want to move. On the other hand, our knees can no longer take the daily grind of the stairs we take to get in and out of our house. Our doctors tell us “falling equals death”, and we don’t want to tempt fate. Though we have a lift, we hardly use it, except for cargo; I guess using it for us admits we are older than we want to think we are.
But beyond aging knees, we are 40 minutes away from any kind of medical emergency vehicles or structures and the same for buying daily things, like groceries, and even getting a bite to eat out when I just don’t have the energy to cook.
These things you trade off for the view and the fishing and the solace when you are younger, but when you age – not so much. Then sitting through a “little rain event” (Hurricane Nicholas) that turned into a hurricane and a tornado during a pitch-black night convinced us it was time to share our piece of heaven down here with someone a little younger.
I have loved living here and writing my first paid published articles and stories, doing research on both the history of the area and of the river and joining multiple community groups to help solve issues that helped the community.
We’re both proud of the work we have done to help keep the San Bernard River open and healthy. That work is not done yet, but pressures on that little river continue to mount from all sides: industry, flow, other Corps of Engineers projects, the Ike Dike, pollutants from larger and larger population growth. I‘d like to think we left a legacy behind, but the younger river rats now need to pick up the gauntlet.
And we’re leaving just when they are FINALLY finishing the new bridge over the San Bernard River at FM 2611. I’d like to think our letters and observations to TxDOT made a difference there, too. That bridge has been needed for some time.
Those things we cannot pack. They won’t be totally left behind. The river, our friends and our community work will live on in our hearts if nowhere else. I’d like to think they will live on here, too. But I know we made the right decision to move when we did.
Roy and I had been looking at houses up near Lake Livingston, starting with Trinity, since Hurricane Nicholas, when I found this house on Zillow. We wanted specific things in a new house: It had to be on the ground, 3 bedrooms and 2 baths (so I could have an office, and we could have a guest room for kids and friends), a fenced back yard for the pups, a walk-in shower, a big kitchen, and wouldn’t it be wonderful to cook on natural gas again?
I call the new house my storybook house, because… it’s like it was meant to be. Our daughter and son-in-law knew a realtor who could handle both sales, and he has turned out to be great. Our new house is all done up in black and white and has the address written out on the street side. Even the address, 404 W. Feagin Street, suggests Feagin in “Oliver”.
You walk across the porch, painted like black and white tiles of the 40s and 50s and open the door. Everything about it says, “Welcome Home”. I was beside myself when I saw the kitchen with a gas stove, a kitchen window, a coffee area, a farmhouse sink. recessed lighting and a back door leading to a patio and fenced backyard.
And this was before I saw the walk-in closets and shower in the master bedroom. It was EVERYTHING we were looking for. We both knew this was home, even though it does not have a garage. There’s room for a shed and so much more.
We’ll live in the city less than 10 minutes from doctors, grocery stores and places to eat and three blocks off Highway 190, which is close to my best friend and the Naskilla Casino. While I don’t gamble, some of my good friends do, and that will give them an excuse to visit. And, if we want to go fishing, we are about 10 minutes from the state park. A new house with a story book ending; we are indeed blessed.
(Write Jan in care of The Bulletin. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Snail mail: The Bulletin, PO Box 2426, Angleton TX, 77516.)