In the classic movie, “It’s A Wonderful Life” George and Mary Bailey renovate an old house called the Granville House. As their family grows they fill the house with children, friends, and love. The house is drafty and in need of attention but over time they transform it into a beautiful home, especially after God sends an unusual angel to show George in a unique way how wonderful his life really is.
Lois and I really are living a wonderful life too, but we have never owned a home of our own – not even a big drafty house in distress like the Granville House. We have always lived in parsonages. There was the little Cape Cod in Mercer County, Ohio. Kyle was born when we were living there. Lois raised a garden. It was right across from the church. There was the ranch-style home on Ironwood in Niles. Holly was born when we were living there. There were the cozy homes in Jackson, where Charlie was born. Heidi, Hannah, Daniel, and Wes were all born in Knox County, Ohio. In Knox County we lived in a beautiful split level and in farmhouses on Rutledge Road and Bryant Road. There was the huge Pine Street Parsonage in Fremont. Lois surrounded it with banks of flowers every summer. Hope was born while we were there. Then there was the Character Inn and, most recently Brook Place.
Our home is a simple but beautiful home in a nice neighborhood just a short drive from the church. Late in November we moved into the house, our own house, for the first time in almost thirty years of marriage.
I have always determined that if we could ever own our own home I would want to give it a name. Naming homes is a common British custom. I like that. My dad and grandfather always gave affectionate, descriptive names to things. I wanted a name with real significance to all of us. I considered Glenmerle, Sheldon VanAuken’s home in A Severe Mercy, but Lois was not moved by the book the way I was.
We could not agree on a name until Christmas Eve. Lois and I agreed to name our new home after George and Mary Bailey’s house in Bedford Falls, the Granville House. It is not a huge house. It’s not drafty, or in need of repair. It is a cozy brick house with a fireplace, hardwood floors, and just enough room for all of us. It is our ambition to fill it with love and peace, and to welcome friends and family, and to always remember how really wonderful life is. From now on the Stonebridge Newsletter will originate from Granville Cottage, our new home in Riverview, Michigan
Christmas Day 2007
A Prayer for the Home
God Bless this house and all within it;
Let no harsh spirit enter in it;
Let none approach who would betray,
None with bitter word to say.
Shield it from harm and sorrow’s sting,
Here let the children’s laughter ring;
Grant that these friends from year to year,
Shall build their happiest memories here.
God Bless this house and those who keep it,
In the sweet oils of gladness steep it;
Endow these walls with lasting wealth,
The light of love, the glow of health;
The palm of peace, the charm of mirth,
Good friends to sit around the hearth;
And with each nightfall perfect rest —
Here let them live their happiest.
-Edgar Guest, a poet for the common man, who spent his whole life working for the Detroit Free Press in our part of Michigan.