Fall has moved into Idaho in a big way. The trees are turning red, yellow, and orange. The breeze is whipping leaves all around our backyard, onto our patio and porch. The many birds we have watched all summer in the yard have fled their homes for warmer climates with their babies in tow. If we are fortunate to be here another spring, they will be back. Our house with big eves seems to be a welcoming perch for many different types of birds. A swiss chalet of cottage style homes with birds on every level starting above the garage and moving up the cross beams to the highest levels.
What I notice most about the start of October is the transition to Halloween. Families with children decorate their homes in a big way. When Scott (now 26) was in junior high, he and his friends used to cover our house with green webbing and black spiders. We had an inflatable snow globe but rather than snow the globe had a ghoulish scene featuring witches and ghosts and bats flew around in place of ice crystals. One year a new family built a house and moved in across the street. Their toddler would come over every day and stared at the globe fixated by the winged creatures flying through the air. Scott has grown up now and so have our neighbors. The snow-globe toddler is now in high school. The family moved out last spring downsizing before their kids left for college.
Pete and I are the oldest couple or at least close to the oldest living in our neighborhood. We have watched as others have sent their children off to college and sold their homes. We told our daughter we would keep our house until she graduated from college. That would be next year. She is a junior at Montana State University this fall. I don’t think she cares whether we keep the house or not. She won’t be home this summer. She is pursuing an internship in Chemical Engineering. Boise has nothing to offer. She will either be at the Idaho National Research Lab near Rexburg, Idaho, which offers literally hundreds of internships or in Utah. If the internships don’t work out she has gotten a research assistantship at Montana State. She is working with professors who are finding ways to make algae into fuel.
Even if Kayla does not care about staying in our house anymore, we missed the window to move. The smaller houses sell for more than our house would bring in. Our house mortgage is fully paid. A piece of the American dream accomplished. We aren’t excited about a getting a new mortgage for a smaller house. We continue to float through an eerily big home that used to be filled with noise of children from throughout the neighborhood playing.
I know the next generation of children has arrived in our neighborhood. The Halloween decorations are going up all over. Whenever I’m outside the same time as Josie, the toddler who lives next door I hear very loud childish singing. My son asked me if the noise didn’t drive me crazy. But Pete and I told him we enjoyed it. It reminds us of when our house was full of children, noise, and Halloween ghoulishness. Now we are haunted by the shadows of the past, memories of wonderful family times.