Goodbye to 4111 Sheridan

My parents divorced when I was two, and my dad purchased the duplex at 4109-4111 Sheridan Avenue South in Linden Hills not all that long after that. Which is to say, while I grew up "So Saint Paul," there was also a part of me that was from Minneapolis too.

As I grew up, we hung out there every Saturday, and while my dad took afternoon naps I made fairy gardens in the yard, made "pens" from the fake bamboo growing everywhere, or climbed to the top of the big cedar tree outside. I hung out upstairs with his tenants, or next door with the Orfields and the pig or turkey they had at that time. Every summer I spent a couple of overnights there, sometimes with friends — where we could sit on the front steps and talk to boys as they walked past. One time I spent there I got really sick, and went through 6 of my dad's t-shirts worn as nightshirts as I puked all night. I made little cubbyholes for "The Borrowers" to find things. My room was (and is to this day) painted a horrible puce color, but I would hang out on the back porch (still my favorite room in the house) and read the books that were kept at my dad's. We walked down to the lake, rode the trolley, got ice cream, shopped in the area.

Over the last two years, I've gotten a different relationship to the house as it was transferred into my name. We've spent endless hours clearing stuff out, trying to find the exact right place to donate them to — whether that was to Mission Manduhai, or given to friends, or donated to Little Hopes, or to food shelves, or libraries, or a college costume shop, or an organization helping out youth transitioning from shelters to their first homes, or arts centers, or Half Price Books, or innumerable other places. We've taken things to scrap, to HHW centers, to compost, to the trash. We've dug out and replanted plants, both in our yard and in others.

We've hung out with the neighbors.

We've had dreams and ideas for the property, before realizing it was more than we could take on.

We've walked around the area and pretended we lived in Linden Hills, trying it on for size.

Through a lot of it, I've felt really sad. The house was poorly kept, and I kept on thinking of how much better my dad's life could have been if we had taken on some of the work earlier. painted, fixed things, made them better. Patrick reminds me he was so stubborn that he would not have let me do so, but I still feel bad, like I did not do enough.

And I feel bad that we could not keep the house, either. The person who purchased it will likely tear it down and build anew. It's probably the right decision, but I feel like I'm letting my dad down.

The other night, Patrick and I went over and sat there and had one last glass of wine and said goodbye to the house. Yesterday, the 3 of us made one last quick trip back so Beatrix could do the same. We left a ladder there that was too long to transport but I regret leaving it. We signed the closing papers last week, and today, the buyer finally signed off, after the whole thing almost fell through several times. So as of right now, 4111 Sheridan no longer belongs to us.

My rational mind is relieved that there is one less house to care for, one less set of things to do.

But my heart hurts right now.


Comments

Dave said…
First, I'm sorry for your loss.

Sometimes its just hard to do the best thing, even when you know you don't have other real options.

I hope you are at peace
Unknown said…
This is beautiful, as is the spirit of the woman who wrote this
spectacular blog.
Goodbye 4111 Sheridan I didn’t know yah, but I wish I had walked
through your hallway, run my hands along your walls, eaten in your kitchen, and played
many hours in your yard. You will be missed, but not forgotten.

Thank you Bethany for sharing your thoughts with the world.
You’re appreciated!

Alexei

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