Thursday, March 19, 2015


Divided by three, it was still a chunk of change. But how could a house -- one that they all grew up in -- be cut up? A Solomonic dilemma. Lives reduced to dust and dollars.

39 Sherman Drive. They intoned it like a song. It was so scorched into their brains it often surfaced like smoke even years after, when each was asked their address.

Sherman Drive was a dead end street. When they were kids, their friend Billy Bensen painted the hilarious word REAR between the words DEAD and END on the yellow diamond-shaped sign. It was a baby boomer subdivision with four models of house from which to choose. Number 39 was mid-block, south-facing, a compact ranch with a brick facade and a cement stoop.

Lisa was two weeks old when they moved there. It was the house that held every Christmas, every birthday, every Monkey-in-the-Middle and Monopoly marathon. It was the house Christopher, the youngest, was born in, one snowy Christmas Eve, the house where the mom died in her sleep, the house where the blind and ailing dad was taken from in an ambulance without even a last chance for goodbye.

Lisa took it all in. She scanned the big living room, now devoid of all furniture, the slight echo of the emptiness playing back a generation of voices. Her oldest son, a wiry, ruddy young man, walked in the front door with the car keys in his hand. He saw his mother's face and listened for a moment. "Mom," he whispered finally. "Time to go."

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