Dear Ones,

Keri here: After all the close Pickett’s were gone I lost touch. Kim was better about keeping up with the Pickett side. Although a part of my past, after I closed up the house, the rest of the family fell off my radar. Looking back, part of the view from over the shoulder shows what is behind us, lost to us. The people and the house.

For a brief moment, it belonged to Kim and I. Once I got there to close out the house I realized the potential of taking the path named Durham, I thought about keeping the house but it all seemed to happen too quickly. By the time I realized I wanted it, wanted to explore school in NC, it was too late.

Grandmother and Granddaddy's house in Old North Durham, NC

Grandmother and Granddaddy’s house in Old North Durham, NC

Birdie was dead. Hard to believe. I was nineteen and overwhelmed and I went to North Carolina to close out the house. Everything had to go including the house. Grandmother’s death meant everything not named in the will was liquified to go into a trust that would happen in the future.

There is dream that returns and replays with stress. The dream goes clockwise from the foyer to the living room to the dining room to the kitchen and around to the bedrooms and bath as the rooms all interconnect. I see Birdie pulling her infant baby Henry in the wagon, going in happy circles. In the dream I wander the halls of this house like a hungry ghost, seeing the objects frozen in time. Each item carefully placed and beautifully presented. The imaginary tour, dreamstate, seems evidence of a life well lived and focused on beauty, enjoying the scene from multiple viewpoints. I see all the objects in the house as Birdie had them. I can trace each object in it’s place. What lives that place nurtured! What about those lives?

Finding Henry

Henry Pickett with his head in his hands, Durham, NC

Mom was busy earning a living and I was in college and it was time to settle the estate. So I went. Kim, you were little and so you stayed in Minnesota too and the house was left to the trust to be divided. The trust lawyer was questionable so the final will was cloudy. In the will. Thy will be done. Done. I thought about trying to transfer to Duke, but I didn’t realize how attached I was to the house until it was time to dismantle it all. Now, with this search to learn about our father, we have to also look at the parents and the house.


Hindsight comforts are real, I have a great family and I am in good hands, perhaps there is a divine plan. I guess it is our fate to do the best we can. Facing another fork. Kim and I are on the road to find out about Henry and his family, however, in the case of the house, we can only go to the door once to ask to see the kitchen. Rearview vision, hindsight, unable to return to the past, but needing to know so two sisters stand in the street and look at the house seeing both the past and the present.

With eyes on the back of my head, Keri


Henry and Birdie Pickett built this house in Old North Durham after they married.



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