Monday, March 23, 2015

The House and the Tree

Winnetka takes its memories seriously and my friend Lail understands.  Being a recent widow wasn’t the only reason she hesitated to sell the family home and move on.  Her daughter had died many years before, and in their grief, the family had planted a tree in their big back yard.

Knowing that the old house and property would probably be sold to developers, the idea of leaving the tree behind was too painful.  But, this was one of those moments when the universe listens.  The woman, who Lail approached at her daughter’s grammar school about replanting the tree on their grounds, had also lost a child.  The tree found a perfect new home.

Next, the people in charge of protecting Winnetka’s landmark properties wanted to be sure that no people or events of landmark status had preceded Lail and her family.  It was expensive and she had to pay for it, but a history of the house had to be obtained.

I visited Lail at her bright new apartment in Evanston on the same street where we had been sorority sisters.  That house was long gone, but we still had our memories.  She showed me the “history book” about the Winnetka house.  There were stories of some really interesting people who Lail and her family will now join as “the ghosts of Cherry Street.” 

So now the memories of her wonderful house live on in the book, as the memories of her wonderful daughter live on in the roots of the tree.

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