Drooping less than gracefully from age and time and weather the porch roof clung steadily to the pillars, which had supported it for so many years. The tar slats the had once so effectively shielded each of the Bakers in turn, now were torn and worn, if even still there a all. So the rain dripped heedlessly through onto the rotting planks below that dismal afternoon. Faraway, down the drive, Lonely House heard the occasional swish of a car as it hurried by on the slick road. None stopped. None hesitated at the drive to reminisce with her of better days. All the Bakers were gone. They had come when old Mr. Baker had slipped and hurt his hip one day. They had come home! But the visit was brief, long enough to hurriedly pack old MR. Bakers things and him into the car and drive away. Not long there after a moving van came and left Lonely House naked and desolate.
“They will come back when MR. Baker gets better.” she comforted herself. Year after year she waited, longing for someone to fix her roof, to lift her foundations, just to smile at her and remember when she was Loved House.
“Ok Jake Honey!” sweet young Mrs. Baker cried. Her belly bulged slightly in a way that New House had never seen before. “It’s perfect! I’ve never seen a more lovely house in all my life!”
New house stuck out her chest a little more and quickly checked to make sure her chimney was stand up straight.
“Now Dear, let’s look inside before we decide. The floor plan is more important than the exterior.” Said Young Mr. Baker.
“But Love, don’t you feel like we’ve lived here always? Can’t you feel this house was made for us?” Young Mrs. Baker laughed pleasantly and walked up the porch.
` “I do not. And don’t talk like that in front of the realtor.”
New House put on her best face when the realtor came and opened her pretty door with the etched glass window. Even young Mr. Baker grunted with approval when all was seen.
Soon New House became Loved House as young Mrs. Baker brought tables and sofas, lamps and bookshelves and filled Loved House with things that made her a home. Soon little Tommy Baker was brought home. Loved House was so excited! She tried more than ever to keep the cold out and make the little blue nursery room shadier. Young Mrs. Baker loved Loved House so much she kept her clean and spent hours within her walls singing. Little Tommy Baker grew up but Little Mandy Baker was soon brought home. Little Mandy Baker grew up but Little George Baker wasn’t far behind.
How kind Not-so-Young Mr. Baker had become. He fixed her leeks and put a pretty swing on her porch. When little George Baker was playing ball with Little Tommy Baker and broke her pretty glass window in the front door, Mr. Baker chastised them a bought her a new door. As little Tommy became big Tommy, he mowed her lawn and trimmed the tree branches so they didn’t fall on her roof. Big Mandy Baker planted flowers below her porch and helped Mrs. Baker decorate Loved House with pretty new thing that were in fashion, so that when their friends came Loved House heard them exclaim “What a Lovely House!”
When Big Tommy brought home Amy Jones, Loved House’s porch sheltered them from the rain as he kissed her and proposed. When Big Mandy Baker had her wedding and became Mrs. Smith, Loved House opened her doors for many parties and watched as they were married in her yard beneath the trees. Then Big George Baker was left. How Mrs. Baker and Loved House cried when he left, dressed in a smart brown army uniform.
MR. Baker and Mrs. Baker were never lonely. Sometimes Tommy and Mandy came to visit with their children. Sometimes George would come with his pretty dark headed little wife. Sometimes they would sit all alone in the twilight and hold each other’s hand as they swung on the porch.
Loved House liked these times the best. Mrs. Baker would sigh and touch one of Loved House’s pillars tenderly saying “This house has been good to us, hasn’t it Love?”
“Yes,” Mr. Baker would agree. “I never wish to leave it.”
But no one can have all their wishes. One day Mrs. Baker got sick and went to the hospital. She never came back and Loved House cried with Mrs. Baker. It got harder for Mr. Baker to take care of himself but he fought to stay with Loved House and yelled when his children asked him to leave. But then he could hold out no longer and Lonely House watched as they drove away saying “I wish you could have stayed forever.”
Yes, Lonely House was very lonely. She had been alone for so long, even her “For Sale” sign was faded.
The sun came out and warmed her tired eves. Then she started. Someone was coming up the drive.
“Oh David! It’s perfect!” cried a pretty woman. “It needs SO much fixing up… but I’ll bet we can do it!”
“It is beautiful, isn’t it?” smiled David as he put his arm around her and looked up at the house. “My Grandparents lived here. Dad grew up here. I visited it when I was little. It has a lovely floor plan.” Lonely House looked hard at the man and saw he looked like Tommy Baker. “It’s ours if you want it Love.”
“Oh yes!” she responded twisting to look up at his face. “Don’t you feel like we’ve lived here always?”
Lonely House smiled her Loved House smile and thought with gratitude “The Bakers have come home.”