Dear Stratford Town Apartment,
I remember when we first found you. It was hard finding the perfect apartment for us. Matthew and I did not want to have to pay rent. We wanted to buy a house, however we were not financially ready for that yet. Apartment hunting took a couple of weeks. Every place we looked at was either full or cost more then we would like to pay. Then we found you. You were significantly cheaper than the other apartments. You were small, perfect for two people. We wanted a space that we wouldn’t fall in love with, because we wanted to be motivated to find a house and move out within a year. You were perfect for us because you weren’t perfect.
It wasn’t hard to not love you at first. We didn’t mind how small you were. We thought it was “cute”. But we hated the kitchen. It could hardly fit the two of us. It was small, old, and had little cabinet space. I’ve always dreamt of having a wide open kitchen that could be seen from different rooms in the house. I couldn’t wait to get out of that tiny kitchen…
There was also no room to store anything. Sure, you provided us with a linen closet and a coat closet, but Matthew has a few hobbies that involves many parts and items that need to be stored somewhere. Well that somewhere ended up being behind the couch. That doesn’t sound too bad right? Except for the fact that “behind the couch” was the fist place you saw as you came in the front door. That awful mess greeted me everyday I came home. I couldn’t wait to have a place with storage room…
It wasn’t just the lack of space that bothered us. You had a certain smell. Like cigarettes, animals, and sometimes weed. One time we walked inside and Matthew said, “It smells like an old man’s butt in here!” The stench was a little embarrassing when we had company, but I’m sure they understood it was from the neighbors. Oh, and speaking of company, we hardly invited anyone over because of how small you were.
The smoke alarm would go off every time we cooked. It was incredibly frustrating. Then it started going off when we showered! Steam made the smoke alarm go off! We took out the batteries after that…
After living in you for a few months, we got used to most of the negatives. I found a way to fit Matthew’s stuff under the bed and in our closets instead of behind the couch. The kitchen slowly became more bearable. We lit many candles and had air freshers plugged into the walls to combat the awful stench. And you were no longer “the apartment”. You eventually became “home”.
We have made so many fun memories while living in you. Many of them involve neighbors. We had a neighbor who yelled for her cat “Tina” every night when we were already in bed. We anticipated that call each night and would quietly imitate her calls in between laughter. We had one neighbor who would sing really loudly in his apartment. I could hear him while I was in the bathroom and his voice was so comically bad that I actually enjoyed listening to him sing. It cracked me up and brightened my day! Another neighbor of ours lived alone for awhile. Then, one day, there was a random car in his parking spot so he had to park somewhere else. The car hadn’t moved for weeks! Matt and I started coming up with different theories as to who this person one. The theory that seemed most logical was that it was a girlfriend who had moved in with him. That theory made sense because there were “girly” items in the car and shortly after she moved in, there was a new place-mat in front of his door that read “Oh sh** it’s you again!” surrounded by tropical pink flowers (classy). She eventually left and we haven’t seen her car again (breakup?). My favorite “neighbor story” is when Matthew and I were eavesdropping on our neighbor’s date. His balcony was just across from ours. We had our windows open and he was sitting outside. They were eating tacos and wanted margaritas but didn’t have any limes. We had a lime and Matthew was strongly contemplated tossing it over to them but I convinced him that that was a bad idea.
When we first moved in, we ate off of a cardboard box because we didn’t have a table yet. That is a fun memory to look back on. We spent our first Christmas together with you. It was such a great memory, waking up and celebrating Jesus’s birthday for the first time as a married couple, opening gifts underneath our tiny, skinny Christmas tree. Both birthdays, New year’s, and Easter were celebrated while we lived in you. It was fun to decorate you and easy too. There wasn’t much space to work with so we didn’t need many decorations to make you look festive.
I don’t think we realized how much we had grown to love you until a month ago when we finished the series finale of Parks and Recreation. When the last episode was coming to an end, I was crying (as I do when any show I like ends). I looked over at Matthew and he had tears in his eyes as well. He usually doesn’t cry about stuff like this so I asked him what was wrong. He said that the show ending and everyone moving on made him think of how our time at this apartment is ending and we are moving on too. Then we both started crying as we thought about how much we will actually miss you. We cried as we reminisced on all of the memories we made while living in you. Don’t get me wrong, we are beyond excited to be moving into our very own house, but it’s hard to leave behind something we love.
We are so incredibly blessed to have been able to live in you. You have treated us so well. We are thankful to have had a place to live at all. You have provided us with all of our needs. We will miss you, Stratford Town Apartment. You will always have a special place in our hearts.
– The Thomas Family