If These Walls Could Talk

You know how some people name their cars? Herbie. Stella. Norman. (People do that, right? It’s not just that I surround myself with weirdos?) Well, anyway, I never did. A car was a car and I never once thought any of mine deserved names. Perhaps “Asshole” when my Jetta wouldn’t start on a particular ninety degree day in 1999, but that was about it. My houses, on the other hand, are an entirely different story. While I may not actually name them, I definitely personify them.

We’ve lived in the sexy, hot young apartment back in the day when we were a “double income, no kids” couple. We lived in the creepy house whose walls actually bled, and we couldn’t move out of fast enough. We lived in the sweet, pretty little house where we welcomed our first child, and we lived in the lame cookie cutter house where we couldn’t have fit in any less.

Currently, we live in a hundred-plus year house which we bought from a couple in their seventies. They raised their children here and stayed, long after the kids grew up and moved out. The boys’ rooms had been transitioned into home offices and sewing rooms, and the jungle gym in the yard was covered in rust and ivy. Family portraits of milestones past lined the walls, but the noise of family had long ago left these halls.  It was a peaceful house. Tranquil. Dignified. Peaceful.

Until we came along.

Please don’t let it be them, please don’t let it be them, please don’t let it be them, I could almost hear the house pray as my family toured it weekend after weekend. While others quietly walked around observing,  my kids bolted from room to room, deciding which would be theirs and plotting out the very best spots for hiding and seeking. The house practically pushed us out the front door with what seemed to be wind, but I knew better.

Once we excitedly signed the papers, I couldn’t help but feel a pang of guilt — poor house had no idea what was about to hit her.

ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?!? She inaudibly screamed as we turned our brand new keys in the door. THOSE people?!

Indeed. Poor house.

What did I do to deserve this? I imagine her sighing as the kids mount the banisters and slide down them. Are you serious?!! She cries as the door slams shut for the hundredth time in a single day. She rolls her eyes at the front yard, littered with cheap plastic toys and balls in every shape and size. She weeps as her graceful hallways are used for games of freeze tag and wrestling and I can almost feel the house vibrating as she shakes her head over the noise and chaos. Her walls are now in dire need of touch-ups, thanks to grubby fingers and her floors are constantly covered in mystery goo. She’s taken a beating, this house.

But, someday, when the noise isn’t quite so loud and the days aren’t quite so chaotic, I imagine her missing it. The noise and craziness is what makes the house a home, much as it drives her crazy. Deep down, I think she loves it.

Or, perhaps I’m just projecting.

That’s a remote possibility.

About the writer


What started as an innocent on-line baby book to chronicle Jill Smokler’s stay-at-home days with her children, quickly transformed into a vibrant community of parents, brought together by a common theme: Parenting doesn’t have to be perfect. Welcome to Scary Mommy!


Danielle 4 years ago

Your house is loved!!

Barbara Younger 4 years ago

She’ll miss it, and hopefully welcome a new crop of kids someday. We redid our daughter’s room in our 180 year-old house about twelve years ago, and when the contractor broke down a wall, out came toys from several past generations. Tiny trinkets like a Mickey Mouse figure and a tiny metal cook pot for a doll house. Such a sweet discovery.

Sara 4 years ago

Huhh thanks god I am not the only one who give names to her things 😀 And yes I gave name to our sweet little home, too. I just have to, it’s part of our life, part of our family so I couldn’t call it just house. Hope some of you guys can understand this :)

anne 4 years ago


Kisha 4 years ago

Buildings are not only the stage but one of the players in our lives. What we put into our surroundings is largely up to us (and to a lesser extent our means). But it’s affect on us is undeniable!

I comend you for selecting something other than cookie cutter, and imagine all the generational cycles of kids and parties and perhaps even a birth. Good life with your HOME.

Katie 4 years ago

…. there are so many more stories to that wonderful house. When my father first entered the hallways it was in great need of repair. His first step onto the side porch landed him halfway through to the cellar.
the ticks found a home along the walls, the first year we were there and while the rats played soccor under the floor boards, the bats swooped down through the chimneys into the dining room. There were little secret passageways to sneak down the back stairs into the kitchen to steal some chocolate pie before my parents awoke and nothing more comfortable than a nap in the sunroom or a swing from the back stairs on the rope swing that hung from one of the huge trees.

a living room that stood witness so many late night parties where my parents blasted Frank Sinatra til all hours of the night. It’s a great house with wonderful memories.. some old, some new, all beloved! good luck with the paint job though….

zeemaid 4 years ago

*LOL* great post. I am sure our house was shivering at the prospect of us moving in with our brood. A

Jeannie 4 years ago

I fucking love this post. That is all.

Erin 4 years ago

This post reminds me of Erma Bombeck’s writing. That is the highest compliment that I can give becuase I adore Erma.

I think your house thanks it’s lucky stars :)

shanan 4 years ago

When I moved into my new ( 200+y/o) house last year, I felt the same way. I also felt like she was just begging me to help bring her old shine back, so while scrubbing the entryway floor I imagined her smiling. Now who is Scary?

angie lee 4 years ago

Of course she loves it.

She has to. It’s that simple.

Sleeping Mom 4 years ago

The house is like a mom: it can’t wait for bedtime when the noise dies down, but knows deep down that in the future it’ll miss that loud noise :)

By Word of Mouth Musings 4 years ago

Bet she was tired of just being a house and wanted to be a home.
Kind of how one time I was a career girl, and then I became a Mom .. .all lived in and homely …
okay, I may want to rethink this ….

Mayor Gia 4 years ago

Awww, I bet she likes it. I’m apartment hunting now, and I just want to find one that won’t hate me or make me poor. SIGH.

Michelle 4 years ago

Okay, I checked out your previous post about your house where the walls bled. Über creepy! As for the house your currently in, If you are surrounded by laughter and you are loved, you cannot help but take comfort in that. She (your house) is happy. :)

Maricris @ SittingAround 4 years ago

Lol! I’m sure she enjoys being with you guys. Just like us mom, we get annoy sometimes with the kid’s noise and stuff but we love it. And we miss every single time that we’re not with them.

Jen 4 years ago

My house DOES have a name. So does my car. So does my purse. Maybe I’ve got issues.

Alison@Mama Wants This 4 years ago

Your house will grow into it. She probably has already.

Wait, how do we know it’s a she?

Amanda 4 years ago

There’s nothing quite like young children running through a house playing hide & seek, leaving their fingerprints along the walls like a trail to their favorite hiding spot, and giggling all the way to let a house know she’s loved.

Cassie 4 years ago

I bet she enjoyed it back when the boys from the past family lived there too. I think the shaking you feel, is her huge sigh of relief that there is once again a family that she can take care of. If you ask me, a house doesn’t feel like a home without some noise and grim. I’m sure she feels that way too.

Susan 4 years ago

Beautiful post! Our homes truly become part of our identity.

MomEinstein 4 years ago

I bet the old house loves having young kids around again. Especially since it had been so long since children lived there. I picture her kind of like a grandma, happy to have noise in the hallways and contentedly watching the kids sleep at night. Remembering the last batch of kids that lived there.

Cam | Bibs & Baubles 4 years ago

I’m sure our house we very happy until we started pro-creating. It was brand new and now there are crayon marks on the wall and all that comes with a toddler taking over. I’m sure she’s plotting revenge as we prepare to welcome baby number two. :)

Jessica 4 years ago

Im betting she will miss it.

tracy@sellabitmum 4 years ago

Oh you made me cry here. So beautiful, Jill. You have a happy, happy home. xo

Katy @ Experienced Bad Mom 4 years ago

Your house is like us moms. Loves it sometimes, wishes it would go away other times, and will probably miss it like crazy when it’s all gone and quiet again.

Johanna 4 years ago

We live in 100+ year old house too and every time my kids swing on the bannister, stuff themselves into the dumbwaiter and slam our gorgeous front door I whisper to myself. “it’s survived other people’s kids, it will survive mine too!”

Erin 4 years ago

I just love this. My house feels the same way. :)

Anna 4 years ago

My house doesn’t mind me, my car, however? Totally out to get me!!!

Heidi Ehle 4 years ago

We currently live in the house that my mother bought when I started the 3rd grade. My parents have not lived in this house for many years; it was a rental before I moved in..just my son and I. It was never a noisy household when I lived here before, as it was just my mother and I here for many years. Now it is filled to overflowing with the trappings of two boys and their maddening rough housing with each other and plenty of pink baby toys…..
I often wonder as well what the house, and the former occupants who built it, raised their children and died within its walls, think of the chaos which now fills its formerly sedate and peaceful walls. But I have to think that it revels in the laughter of its resident children. And that makes me happy………..

Life with Kaishon 4 years ago

Ha Ha HA : ) I think our house was not too happy about us moving in too! We were the first ones to ever live there, but I could hear the new construction screaming NOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Sweety Darlin 4 years ago

Did it ever occur to you that maybe, just maybe the house said…..

I have loved a family with all my floors and walls, and have protected them through their lives, and my family needs to move on. I have so many more years to love another family and protect them from rain. I want a family that I can love again.

Maybe your house isn’t the old curmudgeon grand paw, maybe your house is the loving baking grandmother type that loves on all the kids in the neighborhood.

Ali 4 years ago

Your house is old. Maybe she’s just like a senile great grandma who bitches a lot but deep down you know she loves you. What’s not to love?

Jen 4 years ago

Our house was brand new when we moved in. Seven years later… she is BEGGING me for a remodel.

Or at least to patch all the holes in the wall.

Bon 4 years ago

She’d almost certainly miss it if it were gone.

Julie McGuire 4 years ago

My house used to love us, now I think she’s embarrassed, tired and worn out. The repairs are coming all to frequently, the weeds in the back are getting out of control and a paint job is in our future. I think our house feels like the rest of the neighborhood is having a party and she wasn’t invited. I’m sure your house is filled with laughter. That’s the best kind of house to have!

Arnebya 4 years ago

I think she’s laughing and giving clues to seekers on where to find the hiders. I think the houses love when kids are loud and fun (not so much the writers on walls with permanent markers, though, no).

Stacy 4 years ago

LOL!! My house hates me, I’m sure of it.

Jennifer 4 years ago

Oh I’m sure that house welcomed you and yours with big, wide open arms and is happy that someone is filling her with love again.

Carrie 4 years ago

I’d be willing to bet that shaking is her laughing.

Cause goodness knows this new family she originally dreaded moving in, is a powerhouse of laughter and love.

I bet she’s missed all the chaos.

If nothing else, she’s GOT to be enjoying all the entertainment!

Stephanie 4 years ago

No, she loves it. You’ve made a house a home and that’s what they are made for. <3


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