The tiny white cottage where I once lived, high on a Magnolia hill, was there one day and gone the next — nothing there but blue sky, a big hole...

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I lost an old friend last fall.

Suddenly.

Drove by, a little out of my way, just to say hi and . . . nothing.

I gasped. Swerved. My heart hurt a little.

The tiny white cottage where I once lived, high on a Magnolia hill, was there one day (lots and lots of days since it was built in 1949) and gone the next — nothing there but blue sky, a big hole and a yellow earth mover, its bucket a slack-jawed snarl.

Workers were descending into the part of the hole that was my living room.

I loved that little house. All 790 square feet of it: one bedroom, one bath. Yes, I know better than to love something that can’t love me back. But I fell immediately for quaint and charm and built-in wall cabinetry.

The description that seemed to fit it best was this: a Kleenex box with an outhouse on the front of it (a makeshift foyer with a plastic waffled roof). A bus stop on the corner.

Worst house in a beautiful neighborhood.

I was a single girl in my 40s there. Not a serious, big-deal house. A house to paint the tiny kitchen sunflower yellow and cornflower blue. My play house. The compact bedroom with two walls dark green, two dark blue. It was like sleeping at the bottom of the ocean.

It was a scraper when I bought it. A white-bread ranchburger on a lot that cried multistory. One flight up: views of mountains, the Needle, the Sound and the city. One flight up.

But I lived bunkered down there. Garage with a broken opener. Bathroom window so close to the neighbor’s I could hear him sing opera in the shower: He was pretty good.

I sold it only because one day — after that terrible Thanksgiving storm some of us still talk about — a big, white Mercedes pulled up the short driveway. Guy hands me his card and says, “Would you consider selling your house for a huge profit?” I was hauling in floor tiles at the time. The roof had blown off. Water ran down the walls.

A doctor from Japan apparently also loved that little house. He wanted it, too. Never did know why exactly. Probably location, location, location.

I took the money and ran.

The breakup was my doing. I left.

And now my old friend is gone.

It happens. There’s a time for all of us to go. Make room for what comes next. Something better, we hope.

I’m used to the hole and its accompanying Honey Bucket now.

Inquisitive neighbors peer in to see what it will become.

I’m curious, too.