Posted by: Mark Wollemann: On the move | January 24, 2013

The house was a home


As those of you who follow us on Facebook know, we’ve sold our house in Minnesota. The sale won’t be complete until a few details have been handled, but we aren’t expecting any problems. Once the sale is finalized, a nice young couple will move in. They sent us a very sweet note when they made their initial offer and we know they’ll be a great addition to the neighborhood. We’re happy for our neighbors. We’re happy for us, too. And a little sad.

We have many cherished memories from our little 100-year-old home on Sargent Avenue. Some of them were captured on video (a 3- or 4-year-old Jenna sitting in her porch, singing along to, I think, Tom Jones). There were sleepovers and pancake breakfasts. Grilled-cheese sandwiches and break-the-fast dinners. We hosted trampoline jumping, friend bonding and parties too numerous to count.

We’ve had a few small calamities. Jenna backed the car into the side of the garage and dragged part of the doorway into the alley (luckily, Grandpa came to save the day — as he often did — with tools and ingenuity). There was the occasional basement flooding and accompanying profanity-laced middle-of-the-night freakouts. We finally remedied that little problem with a sump pump and drain tiles. I started an upstairs bathroom renovation that I couldn’t finish. When my Dad came to bail me out, his first words upon entering the demolition zone were: “What the hell have you done?”

And don’t think Grandpa was the only hero. My Mom came to nurse Jenna back to health when she had the chickenpox (and we had to work). It was the middle of winter. Temperatures outside were minus-20 Fahrenheit. The house was freezing. Jenna was miserable. And Grandma was constantly on the move, from the first floor for food and back upstairs, where the heat in that old house traveled (it was often about 60 on the first floor and 80 upstairs).

Obviously, there are many, many other memories. They’ll take up residence in a warm place deep inside our hearts. It was a good run for the three of us (and Teddy, and George, too) at 1794 Sargent Av. Lotta love in that place. That house has heart.



  1. Mark, this piece of your heart is so dear. You know we’re not happy your next page is not with us on Sargent Ave., but you leave with us your wry smile and in-the-moment charm. Allow me to say you three as well as your parents will always be our neighbors. Best hopes, and I embrace you! Ava Dale

    • Thank you, Ava Dale. … Please know that the feeling is mutual. You — and your dear Charles — are always in our hearts.

  2. Very sweet, Mark. When you put it that way, it’s not as sad to make the transition. I’ve enjoyed reading your reports…..and living vicariously!

  3. What a beautiful tribute to your family’s home, Mark. As my husband and I plan our own (eventual) move, we’re struggling most with the idea of selling our home, because it’s the repository of so many happy memories and cherished stories. I can only imagine the sadness that must come with leaving such a dear place behind — but I hope it’s eased somewhat by the promise of new places and new adventures. Congratulations!

    • Yup. It’s that happy kind of sadness, Heather. Knowing we’ve created good memories and deep connections is gratifying and makes moving forward easier.

  4. Wow, that’s a big move! are you thinking of buying a house/apartment in Bulgaria/elsewhere or you are going to be nomads for a while?

  5. Oh Mark, your dad and I have so many happy memories involved with your home on Sargent and I am teary and happy for you and Mel at the same time. Mixed emotions. I have enjoyed reading Ava Dale’s comments and know how much she and Charles meant to your family. I hope the new family will be happy in your wonderful, old neighborhood. And that your and Melody’s adventurous spirits carry you to many happy adventures down the road. Love, mom

  6. Mark and Melody: Belatedly tuning into your blog, which somehow I’ve missed even as I’ve heard generally about your awesome next chapter in life. Keep up the good stuff, you two. Jackie

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