Feeling at Home at Bev’s Place

First, an update from last Friday’s post: The chocolate cake was a hit. (Was there any doubt?)

Second, as to our haphazard posting: If I ever get back on a regular writing schedule, it will be a miracle. (Hang tight, folks. We’ll get there eventually.)

Third, as to our housing situation: We signed the papers on Monday; it’s officially ours. (Yippee!)

mid-century home

I don’t know how well you can see her, but in front of the house by the two small shrubs we have a metal lawn decoration of a girl holding a flower pot.

She came with us from Phoenix. My kids were in grade school when we found her in a thrift shop, so we’ve had her quite some time. Over the years she took on a fine reddish-brown patina. As you can see, she fits right in with our Minnesota home.

I wonder how long before that’s true for me? When will this truly feel like our home?

At times it feels like we’re staying in a vacation rental, mostly when we walk to the river or stroll along the nearby golf course.

Other times it feels like we’re staying in the home of an elderly relative.

(There was a time when the sight of arm rails and assists would have bothered me. But after having undergone a couple difficult surgeries, I look at them now and think, “What a great idea!”)

Husband and I seem to have a knack for buying the homes of old ladies. Our first was in Nebraska from a woman named Willametta (great name, don’t you think?). The second was Eva’s home in Phoenix.

And now it’s Beverly’s home. Or Bev, as the neighbors say.

As I said last week, we know a few things about her. She collected recipes, enjoyed reading, worked at a school, enjoyed her sunroom and yard.

I found this picture posted on an online tribute to her (she passed away in March):

Beverly on porch

One of the many comments posted: “What a kind and classy lady.”

She does look rather classy, don’t you think?

Jerry, our new neighbor, said she had funny little sayings she’d repeat, perfect for whatever you were talking about. Jerry’s wife, Patricia, said no one could tell a story better than Bev.

“She’d make you laugh so hard you’d cry!”

I wish I could have met her. I’m certain we’d be friends.

Look what I found in the backyard, next to her cute little shed:


I have a hunch — just a hunch, mind you — that a grandchild painted it and gave it to her.

Walking through the home, it’s easy to feel the love and care that went into it. For over 50 years this was their home. Children were raised here, meals served, laughter shared and tears shed.

Someone asked me if I can feel her here. Meaning Beverly.

I don’t put much stock into the idea of ghosts, but I know others do so usually I say, “Well, she didn’t die here, you know. She died in a nursing home.” Thinking that will explain my lack of haunts.

It doesn’t of course. They point out “her spirit will inhabit the place she loved most.”

Now were it me? Were I a ghost?

Seems to me I’d travel. See the world. Hang out in Paris for a bit. Head over to Venice for a ride in a gondola. Spend some time in Egypt studying the pyramids… But like I said, maybe that’s just me.

Now should Bev drop by, maybe to check on things? I’ll show her how the Peace Rock is in its place and I’m doing my best to keep the yard and flowers looking nice.

I might also ask her a few questions.

Like, what did she put in the odd little space by the dining room table? Why are there seven outlets in the small sunroom, but only two in each bedroom? And why the five small nails under one of the bedroom windows?

But mostly: what the heck is the plastic hook above the basement light switch for?

light switch

Was it a key? A key to what?!

Augh, I may never know. If any of you have a guess, I’d love to hear it.

In the meantime, in case you’re curious, here’s the nitty-gritty on making Bev’s chocolate cake mentioned last week:

Bev’s Rocky Road Cake


  • One package Devil’s Food Cake mix
  • 4 cups mini-marshmallows
  • 1 cup chopped pecans, walnuts or peanuts
  • 1 jar hot fudge topping

Mix the cake according to package directions except replace the water with coffee (this is optional; you don’t really taste the coffee, but it adds a nice depth to the flavor). Spread into a greased 13 by 9-inch baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Remove from oven and immediately top with mini-marshmallows and sprinkle with nuts. Heat the hot fudge topping in the microwave according to directions on jar, drizzle over the top of the cake. Let cool completely before serving.


chocolate cake

Thanks, Bev!

32 thoughts on “Feeling at Home at Bev’s Place

  1. I’m not sure how it works but houses have energy. They have their own rhythms and make their own noises. And each one changes our traffic patterns (behavior) even if it’s only slightly.

  2. I envy the positive “Bev” memories lingering in your house. Our house only had one owner prior to us – less-than-pleasant people (to be polite about it). Also, the b&w photo of Bev is wonderful, and makes me sad most in her generation are gone. I wonder if our children will enjoy the same nostalgia of prior-generation b&w photos? In their Photoshop world everything looks so fresh and colorful. Not necessarily a good thing.

    1. Good point. I’m with you, there’s such a beauty in these old black and white photographs. Somehow they seem more honest.
      Suddenly that Paul Simon song is in my head – mama don’t take my Kodachrome away! (oh dear, that dates me!)

  3. I agree that any house which has stood for a while has lingering traces of the previous energy. In my own home, I can feel that the previous two families were happy here, and I’ve had that feeling since the day I walked in the door 21 years ago…

    1. I love that!
      Once upon a time when we were looking for a house in Phoenix, there was a home we put a bid on. I wasn’t real fired up about the house but couldn’t say for sure why, as it met all our needs and was in the area we wanted. The owner of the home counter offered, nothing terribly unreasonable but somehow I got a bad feeling about the family. Again, not sure why. Finally I blurted out to my husband, “I don’t want this house! I like the old lady’s house!”
      The old lady’s house (Eva’s) didn’t meet our criteria at the time, but it was the perfect house for us. So yes, I think there is something to this energy theory.

  4. Love this post! Hubs and I joked about our last house in La Crosse. We called it our “Grandma house”. It was, like yours, a sweet little ranch with a three season porch in the back (oh, the memories we made there!), which was built in 1959 (when homes were built very well). It had not been updated so we put quite a bit of work into it. First thing we did was pull up all the carpet, because there were beautiful hardwood floors underneath. Her kids told us at the closing that she hated hardwood floors (I know..why??) so had it all carpeted. It was truly the favorite house we ever lived in.

    1. Oh my gosh, you lived in La Crosse?! My husband has family in both La Crosse and Eau Claire. (Are you sure we aren’t sisters?!)

      This home was built in 1956 and is fully carpeted except for the closets, where we find a lovely hardwood floor. First chance we get… 😀

  5. I have read your post with delight. It is wonderful how you get to know about
    people who lived there before and in this case so much positivity.
    I think we buy more by instinct and feel than we understand. I know I do.

    I do believe houses carry the ‘energy’ or personality of previous owner. If a place
    has been loved it wraps itself around any newcomer.

    wishing you happiness in what last was Bev’s house.


    1. I believe you’re right, the purchase of a home does seem instinctual. My husband and I were talking about how odd it is we make a decision on a house usually on one visit, while we’ll spend weeks choosing a blender. In many respects we got lucky on this house as we didn’t have much to choose from, so I’m feeling particularly blessed with how things are turning out.

  6. I too think houses have an energy/vibe. You soon know if you go into a place if it makes you feel comfy or not – that’s the house vibe. My home I live in now came from a different place, cut into 4 bits and transported and put back together. It’s a bit “not finished” (still after 15 years) but it feels so good for me to be in this space, on this land. It just works for me. Sounds like your place is doing that to you too.

    1. That’s a good way to look at our lives, influenced by many things, transported here and there, never quite finished but working at it. Yours sounds like the perfect house!

  7. It does seem like houses have a vibe. Maybe that’s what the Chinese try to figure out with feng shui.

    After all that time in Arizona, are you used to green yet?

    1. Will there come a time when we’re bored with green? I honestly can’t imagine it. There’s actual moss growing in my backyard, and I haven’t even watered it. And the cutest little toads you ever saw. I didn’t know toads came in that size! 😍

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