"This is June," she said. "She's the original owner of your house."
Our house was built in 1967, and we're the third owners. The people we bought it from lived here for about ten years, but we'd never met the people before that. Our next-door neighbours are some of the few original residents left on the court, having bought their house from the plans before it was even built - and chosen the only completely level yard on the street, I think (all the others have a dramatic slope either at the front or the back of the house).
So I invited June in to see what we'd done with the place, of course.
She lived here for thirty-four years. She had her four children here and watched them grow. She put in the now-horrible green carpet that we routinely abuse, and the matching wallpaper that we ripped off. She and her husband were the ones who extended the family room, and had the washer and dryer brought up there from the basement - two things I wanted to hug her for because they make my life better on a daily basis. They put in the bay window I'm sitting beside right now, that we won't put shades on because they would hide the lovely gentle curve, even if they would also enable people to sit at the other end of the table unblinded of an evening.
She graciously admired the completely changed kitchen, the bench we put in, the new floor in the hall, but her mind was obviously on the years she and her family spent here, the times they had, the things I couldn't see. As we parted, she wished me well and told me they were the happiest years.
I hope I have them too, those years; a couple behind me already and many more ahead, in her happy house. It's nice to get an inkling of the history we're barging through, as we do all the same things again with a new batch of children to grow up feeding baby dolls and scattering lego all over June's carefully selected green carpet.