This house expands and contracts, it fits four, it fits two, it is not even unbearably too large to stay alone in—at least temporarily. It always feels right.
You might raise a family in it, as we did. Kids crawling around in the yard, then stumbling around, then climbing up the climbing structure (now retired) and sliding down or hanging on the bars or playing tether ball. Adults might plant raised beds of lettuce and herbs and grow peas and on poles and tomatoes on vines along the side of the house.
You might make dinner in the kitchen while someone else is baking a cake at the other end of the counter and not bump into each other. You might look out the kitchen windows and see kids playing or admire the crab-apple blooms and the tulips and daffodils. You might make compost out there in a bin, and barbeque from April to November. You might walk to the Davis Square Farmers Market in season or to the movie theater all year round and get a great pistachio ice cream cone at JP Licks.
You might lie on the couch in the living room, reading a book or a magazine and not hear the traffic on Mass Ave, just a block away. You might come in the front door and be in Cambridge and go out the back door and be in Somerville (and pay property taxes in both, in proportion).
You might bring up two children in this house, send them all the way through the Cambridge Public Schools, watch them go off to college and then out into the world and hear them say how happy they were in these rooms and this yard and on this street and how sad they are to say goodbye to it while at the same time having their own homes in other cities and knowing it is time to pass this one on to others who will love living in it as they did.
If you are so inclined, you might write a book in this house, on the third floor, in the room that faces the backyard, as I did. Or you might start a band in this house, as my husband did. And you might have fifteen-person rehearsals in the back yard on warm evenings, ending early out of consideration for the neighbors. You might help organize a music festival there and call it HONK! and see it reach its twelth anniversary and spread to Austin and Rome and Seattle.
And when you are old enough to retire, as we are, you might move away to New York City, as we did, first going through the basement and all the rooms and closets and cupboards and shelves and books and records, and drawings, and old letters and lighten your load, as you must, because your new place is much smaller and besides, it’s just time for that now.