Granite State of Mind, #50: Pleasant View Drive, Exeter
In 2010 we left New Hampshire for Sarah's military medical career, and we've had a few addresses in the seven years since - two in Maryland while she was at Walter Reed and two in Washington during her time at Fort Lewis. None of them have felt particularly like home, though we've known friends and shared plenty of love and laughter in thoseplaces. When I think of home, I mainly think of my folks's place in Stratham, but also of this place in Exeter that we lived in from 2006-2010. We lived in a couple of other places during our time together, but this was the first house we bought; the first place that was ours. It's not really much of a house - a modest little three-bedroom raised ranch on a small lot - but we crammed a lot of life into that joint.
That's where we painted a nursery and built a crib and welcomed both of our boys into the family. That's where we had several installments of the legendary (and hopefully someday reinstated) Cutthroat Tag-Team Yankee Swap parties. That's where the epic Baggo Tournament of 2009 went down, with the dozen pregnant contestants. That's where we ate Chinese and binged on the West Wing and How I Met Your Mother, where I wrote most of a book and Sarah juggled medical school in Boston with having two babies. That's where I lived during my third term on the Board in town, and while I chaired the town's Democratic committee (we hosted Senator Chris Dodd there once, during his ill-fated 2008 presidential primary campaign). I mowed that lawn a thousand times, hand-pruned my cherished Japanese maple trees out front, and fought back the waters of the second 100-year flood in as many springs. That's where I started running, and Sarah and I began and ended lots of training runs in that driveway.
The basement where I kept my books was a horrible wood-paneled dungeon. It was a miracle whenever the garage door worked (I think it was a prototype). The upstairs brick fireplace was, for reasons passing understanding, painted over with flat white paint. We sold the place a few years back when managing a rental property from 3500 miles away become impractical, and neither of us was particularly broken up by the parting. It wasn't an easy house to love. But a lot of love sure went into it while we were there.