More than three decades ago my parents were sold on a little white house at Chandler.
It had funny arched window facades and an orange tiled roof.
A toad pond at the front and a dam at the back.
I’m sure there was an old rocking chair somewhere too.
There was plenty of space. Five and half acres to run around, mow and grow things.
Over the years as our family grew, so did the rooms, gardens and sheds.
Hard work turned a house into a home.
Once laid the circular driveway provided hours of entertainment for us to ride our bikes around.
If a crack was found, we’d wedge macadamia nuts off our tree in it and use Dad’s hammers to smash them.
Our names, hand and foot prints are cemented in the concrete.
We braved the dam in the backyard a few times when we overcame the fear of what was lurking below.
A run in with Nanny our goat once left me breathless under the murky surface.
I liked the top of the big mango tree until one day I fell out winding myself pretty badly.
A trunk up the front still bares the scar of one of my driving lessons.
So did several other cars in the garage.
That was the beauty of a big backyard.
Inside the wall in the kitchen tells the story of how quickly we all grew.
Even coats of paint over the years couldn’t erase the memories.
There were plenty of fights, especially when it was time to do the dishes.
We knew every nook and cranny for hide and seek.
So did the snakes and spiders.
The solitude of our rooms kept our biggest secrets, goals and ambitions.
The lounge room was for traditions, like watching our favourite movies on repeat.
It was also where the Christmas Tree stood year after year with Frosty blaring in the background.
And every year we’d catch the hayride while the neighbourhood partied at Hoffies.
It was never an empty house full of family, friends and pets.
Bunnies, budgies, chickens, goats, dogs, cats, guinea pigs and mice.
Their remains buried in the backyard, somewhere.
There were many firsts.
Birthdays and big parties, first days of school and graduations.
Boyfriends and eventually husbands even called Chandler home.
The front yard was where my little sister Ali and her partner Ash got married.
Even as we got older and us girls moved out, ‘Chandler’ was always there.
To pop back to.
To store our stuff.
To offer a roof over our heads when we needed.
I moved out many years ago now but it’s always been home.
It’s also become a home away from home to the next generation, the grand kids.
Sadly, that all changes this week.
After 32 years the keys will be handed over, to a new family.
Knocking down the foundations of our home to build their own.
It’s unlikely our Chandler will be around for much longer but the memories will remain, etched in our minds and hearts forever.