Our next-door neighbors have recently moved to an assisted living facility after living in their house since 1955. They are both about 90 years old now. The husband used to tell us stories about being a driver in World War II and he called Perry "Sport" (which drove Perry crazy). The wife told me the history of the plants and trees in my yard and she liked that I was tending to the garden after so many years of neglect (even though it made her nervous that I was moving things around so much).
She and the original owner of our house planted our tulip tree in front. She said it was only about five feet tall when they picked it out together at the nursery (it's about 100 feet tall now). She chose this magnolia but she said she'd always wished she'd picked the tulip. She brought me cuttings of heirloom roses from their house on the coast and she told me that if I got rid of the ivy in the rock wall, she'd bake me a pie.
When we told them that we used to get our bunny veggies for free from a market in our old neighborhood, they immediately asked the produce manager at their favorite grocery store if they could have some of the day-old lettuces. The produce manager happily obliged and soon it became a weekly ritual for them, and for us, too. The wife and I would meet at our back doors and she'd heave a bag of lettuce to me from her porch. We'd chat quickly about the weather and she'd ask me about the kids and then we'd hear one of them calling me from inside. She'd laugh and wave me on and we'd both retreat to our respective kitchens.
This past fall, things started to get harder for them. The wife stopped driving (the husband hadn't been able to drive for years) and daily life proved to be too tough to navigate. Close friends of theirs had been pressuring them to move to a place with full-time help and after months of the pressure, they finally relented (though their disdain for the situation was made quite clear). I hear their new place is starting to grow on them, though, and the wife is happy to not have to cook.
As I write this, a realtor is giving a perspective buyer a tour of their kitchen. Soon enough, the old house will be filled with new faces and new voices, and new plans for the future. Hopefully, whoever moves in won't mind my ramblings about what I know of the plants in their yard, or get tired of my stories about the sweet old couple that lived there once.