Before us, there were five owners of this house we now live in.

Each of us has left a little mark.

Each of us has lived life to the fullest within these walls.

And each of us has loved this house to distraction.

If you’ve owned the house before, you just can’t help it.  You can feel it when you walk through the doors.  This is a happy house.  A house full of sunshine.  A house where laughter rings through the halls and wise men show up with dishtowels and mirrors have re-written endings and sweet tea tastes even sweeter.

It’s the house where all the stories go to live.

A couple of months after we bought the house, I got a call from one of the previous owners.  She heard we were back in town and that we had bought the house and she wanted to know if there was any way she could bring some of her family back to the house to see it one more time.

Without hesitating, I immediately said yes.

I get it.

I understand.

I totally get wanting to say hello again to a house well lived.

And so it was that a couple of weeks later there was a knock at the door.

Several members of one of the families that used to live here stood waiting at the front door with smiles on their faces.

We were instantly friends.

They told me stories about what colors the rooms used to be and friends they used to have over and what the kitchen used to look like how their mother had decorated it and where the living room furniture used to be.  I listened with joy.  And then I told them my stories about growing up here and how my mother had decorated it and where my bedroom used to be and the friends that I had over and how I had taken down the wall to the butler’s pantry and the plans I had for the house.

And how I wanted to continue the legacy of the house for my children.

It was a surreal afternoon.

It was amazing.

It was incredible to sit in this living room and share our hearts and our dreams and our hopes contained in all the stories of the house.

And then?

Just when the stories were brimming over and my heart was full and I wanted to write the house a thank you note…

…one of the daughters of the previous owners gave me this.

A blue and white mortar and pestle.

It was her father’s.

He was a pharmacist here in town and this blue and white mortar and pestle sat in his office.

She understood, too.

She knew how much I would treasure a piece of the house’s history.

But here’s the thing.

The amazing, wonderful, incredible thing about this mortar and pestle?

It means even more to me.


Because I’m married to a pharmacist.

Another day.

Another living room.

Another office.

Another chapter in the story of the house.

If only blue and white dishes could talk.

And this mortar and pestle?

It’s happy to be home.

Just. Like. Me. 🙂

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  1. Image for Carla Hanson Carla Hanson

    Looks like it is blue Delft from Holland. Is it signed and numbered on the bottom? A great addition to your blue and white collection. I have a collection of blue and white Delft pieces. I have never seen a piece like that one that is a mortar and pestle.

  2. Image for Linda Linda

    "It's the house where all the stories go to live"...simply LOVE this sentence. I may have to paint this. I think this could be said about my home. Have a fabulous day friend!

  3. Image for Susan Ronnfeldt Susan Ronnfeldt

    Wow! That gave me the chills. There is a "God Wink" right there!! Isn't the universe a wonderful, incredible thing!

  4. Image for Denise Cox Denise Cox

    It's lovely, KariAnne! A perfect addition to your blue collection! And, as ususal, another sweet story... 😊.

  5. Image for Laura Harrie Laura Harrie

    KariAnne, stories just come to your house! Another amazing one for the file! Thanks for brightening up my day with your wonderful story!

  6. Image for Pam Pam

    Your stories are wonderful and the fact that they are wrapped around a beautiful home and family make them even more special. You are so blessed and we as your readers are blessed to have found you. Thank you for this ride with you!

  7. Image for Jere Jere

    This is so true. I live in a Queen Anne Victorian home Circa 1892. Frequently I have either former residents or family members stop and give information or want to just come in to recall their memories of times spent here. It is like reading a history book. One couple asked to come in and have their picture taken in the place where they stood when..they were married by the then owner who was a Justice of Peace. Another stopped and said she was born in the front upstairs bedroom..(.Long ago but I didn't ask!) So I also understand the history of former house owners much love and special memories left from every owner. Jere

  8. Image for Christie Christie

    I understand. My great grandfather was a pharmacist and drug store owner and the few things of his that I have are so precious to my family history!

  9. Image for Cathy Cathy

    The minute I saw that mortar and pestle my eyes light up. To make a long story short, my dad was a pharmacist and when I see one it makes me think of him and the days, I too, worked at the pharmacy. Toughest boss I ever had. He always give his kids the crappy jobs. We all worked there except the baby. He got out of it.

  10. Image for Linda G Linda G

    Incredible story. Your home is so beautiful. Is there any chance you would share were you living room rug is from. Love it so much.

  11. Image for DeMarie Ingraham DeMarie Ingraham

    Your telling of the visitation left me tearful. I had to mull for a while why. Perhaps, because it is a joy to feel the wonderment of how the Circle of Life turns in such mysterious ways. And perhaps it’s because so many of us never get to experience our “past lives” in such a way. I, too, have had the former family who for 4 generations lived in our 1908 home, come visit several times when they’ve held their family reunions. The house had fallen into disrepair for many years and brought them such sadness. They are ecstatic to see Hillhouse come alive again which brings them peace and hubby and me joy. Indeed, our walls did talk on their visits as they reminisced about good times and bad - The ghostly visitations and some of the family secrets were revealed much to our chagrin. PS. Love the blue and white. So fresh and inviting.

  12. Image for Donnie Donnie

    Amazing! You have the best stories and your welcome to all is a joy to hear about. My goal - practice more hospitality.

  13. Image for Janette Janette

    Everything comes full circle I believe and that little dish sure seems to have found his sweet little way home, but how lovely for you all, another wonderful story from you Kerianne, you almost always make me smile and shed a tear, happy ones mostly...xx

  14. Image for Debbie Debbie

    Oh, what a sweet story! It brought tears to my eyes! We moved into my childhood home in 1953, when I was not quite 3 years old. Our mother stayed there after our daddy's death in 1984, until she moved (at the age of 84) to an assisted living home in 2004. She always said she'd die there, but it wasn't meant to be. We four sisters held onto the house, reluctant to let it go to just anybody. We each had our own homes, and so did our children. Finally, in 2012, we listed our home for sale, and the agent showed it to several families - and all of them had grandiose ideas for our simple home.... One woman, though, made a great and lasting impression on us with her enthusiastic comment, "I walked in the front door and there was just this feeling.....I could tell that this home had held so much love and laughter......and I said to myself, 'this is it!'". She brought our home and property back to life. Our mother and daddy would've been so proud.

  15. Image for Sharon Sharon

    This is such an awesome story! What a day - one you will never, ever forget. I have never, ever lived in such a house of stories and hope that I will someday. Maybe it's a southern thing because I have heard that there is nothing to compare to southern hospitality. I think that New Englanders just don't get it. Hence, a retirement move hopefully next year further south. A place where people say hello to you while shopping or just walking by each other. When I look at the pictures of your house, I can feel the love, warmth and hugs surrounding me. Thank you for always sharing these wonderful stories.

  16. Image for Carrie Carrie

    Since I believe with every breathe that 'things are meant to be'~ reading your story only confirms my belief~ you were listening to whispers and nudges of decorating changes when you started drifting towards blue... May peace be with you all~ now and forever in the home...from those who came through the doors to those who have yet to visit.

  17. Image for Debbie zambardi Debbie zambardi

    God weaves every story together so beautifully, You are EXACTLY where you and your family are meant to be!

  18. Image for Sandi Sandi

    Beautiful and what a wonderful reunion. Just to let you know......those cracks in the pestle can be repaired flawlessly and the glue marks removed. What a wonderful and meaningful gift for your home! Enjoy!

  19. Image for Alice Genzlinger Alice Genzlinger

    I love ALL of your stories because I know there are no such things as coincidences. God is in every thing even to the smallest mortar and pestle. Sweet😍

  20. Image for NormaJean NormaJean

    Karieanne, I love, love, love the new blue/white "neutral" theme! The house looks amazing!! How wonderful that the mortar and pestle came "home" to live with you. I love giving items I love to people who I know will treasure them.

  21. Image for Cheryl Cheryl

    I cried reading this. I've been back to the house I grew up in and I understand completely. And the mortar and pestle-my father-in-law and grandfather-in-law were both pharmacists so I get it completely. Love your blog!


    What a lovely story, KariAnne -- and such a precious gift! So many wonderful memories and so many more memories to be made in your gorgeous home! Blessings!

  23. Image for Lynn Mosher Lynn Mosher

    Sooo awesome! What a wonderful and beautiful gift! No words can describe how awesome your living room looks. It's off the charts beautiful! So much character and so refreshing. Not enough O's in love to tell you! ❤

  24. Image for Michelle Michelle

    Oh my, I get it too. I also would have opened the door to them wanting to see the house one more time and share its stories just one more time. And what a treasure to know that one of the previous owners was also married to a pharmacist! I can't go back and visit all of the places in which I used to live but If that big ol' oak tree out by the pond ever gives up its secrets, there are three containers buried underneath with happy memories from the property's previous inhabitants. I smile to think of who might find them and hope they make them smile too..

  25. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    Oh, how I love this! A classmate bought the house I grew up in and has offered a tour. I need to do that soon. And I get glimpses on Facebook of sweet corner cabinets and hardwood floors. A favorite tree with a new swing. And driveways that have stories of all five of us learning to drive. I love homes and their stories. Thank you for sharing, sweet friend!!

  26. Image for Kathy A Kathy A

    What a lovely story. I could feel the serenity looking at your lovely blue and white living room. I too love blue and white and have a collection of milk glass. Thank you so much for sharing the story!

  27. Image for Kimberley DeBastos Kimberley DeBastos

    What a wonderful story! How ironic that your husband is a pharmacist and they gave you a mortar and pestle. And, I must say, that your living room looks so inviting and warm.

  28. Image for Donna Marie Donna Marie

    When I was in high school, my family (including six girls) remodeled a house that was stripped to the "bones." It had never had plumbing, or closets or central heating; so we put it all in in six weeks and moved in Christmas Day. Needless to say, people came from miles around to see the ol' Sinex place and we loved it and the stories told about it. Our relatives came to see the house and we had so much fun showing it off! If we heard a car coming down the road, we were almost certain it was company coming!!!

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