I grew up with my grandparents in an old-fashioned house. From what my aunt tells me, the house was old-fashioned 35 years ago when my grandparents bought it.
In 1986, they built a bathroom and added a hot water heater. They also “modernized” the wallpaper in one of the bedrooms. (Well, they came across some orange and brown wallpaper that nobody else wanted and put it up.) Everything else is pretty much the same as when they bought it. No central heating, just wood-burning stoves in the kitchen, living room and bedroom.
After my grandfather died in 1991 and then again when I moved out in 1995, my grandmother was talking about selling the house to move to an apartment. I always thought it wasn’t going to happen. When I moved to the United States in 1998, she put the house on the market for a little while, but got no offers.
A few years later, my grandmother realized seriously she wasn’t getting any younger. Carrying in wood every day to start a fire was wearing her down. She decided to get serious and put the house on the market again.
None of the people who came to look at the house were really interested. It just wasn’t modern enough for them, my grandmother said. So she asked my aunt for help putting an ad out on the Internet.
Shortly thereafter, a man in his late 40s contacted my grandmother about buying the house. After spending numerous hours on the phone with my grandmother, he offered her $28,000 in cash for the house. But my grandmother was suspicious.
“I think he’s more interested in me than the house,” she said. When I asked her, “How so?” she told me that the man proposed to her, just a couple of days earlier.
My grandmother turned down his offer, and he eventually bought another house in the south of Sweden. Then he started calling her again asking her to come visit him. He called her almost every day for a while, and my grandmother, being the nice person she is, just patiently explained to him that she is old enough to be his mother.
“That doesn’t matter,” he told her. “I like mature women.”
She did not, however, mention that she has a boyfriend. Nor did she tell the boyfriend about the proposal. All she told me was, “I’m selling the house because I want to get rid of all the inconveniences, not because I want more of them.”
She did finally get her house sold. A Stockholm couple bought it as their summer home, fixed it up, then sold it to a Dutch family. And my grandmother lived happily ever after…