A New Home, the Kindness of Strangers

Monday Morning Musings:

“I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.”

–Blanche,  A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams

“Thank you, Mr. Rochester, for your great kindness. I am strangely glad to get back again to you: and wherever you are is my home—my only home.”

–Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre



After he had served his country,

had been a stranger in more than one strange land,

and was home, if not settled,

he joined a community of strangers

who became friends.

Theater brought the couple together,

in A Streetcar Named Desire,

they sparred with words and movement

(a subtext created)

my daughter said “He’s nothing like Stanley,”

reassuring me,

and she,

my practical dreamer, is nothing like Blanche,

the magic of theater,

bringing something of oneself in playing another,

finding empathy for strangers,

a valuable skill, I’d say.

Perhaps a community brought them together,

these two,

so different,

so similar,

they married,

the English teacher bride with her Jane Eyre message,

“Reader, I married him.”

Every year she meets new students,

strangers, whom she will guide.

The groom, studying to become a nurse,

will care for strangers, too.

And through the kindness of strangers,

they now have a house.

Home is where the heart is,

so the old proverb goes,

but it’s certainly pleasant to have four sturdy walls

and a roof—

with skylights.



Months ago, the process began,

 I saw something online,

I entered to win a house.

Really? we laughed a bit–

because who wins the lottery?

But they did.

The kindness of strangers,

Operation Homefront,

gave this veteran and his wife a rare opportunity,

a home of their own.


They waited,

spring turned to summer, fall,

in winter, they finally saw their new home.

a magical day–

after all, we stood without coats in January

when a few days before snow lay on the ground.

the sun was shining,

a gentle breeze lifted and tangle the flag,


the veteran lifted his bride



It brought back memories–

when my husband and I bought our house,

I was pregnant with her sister,

our first child,

the house was dirty and needed work before we could move in,

old, musty carpets pulled out, floors refinished, and walls painted,

we relied, not on strangers, but on friends

who helped us with the tasks

(laboring before I labored)

Their house was renovated by strangers,

a little dream house with a yard for their dog,



sunny windows for their cat,


a room for friends to stay in,

space to dream,

and a chocolate cake in the refrigerator.


We celebrated that night,

pizza and wine,

the servers, astounded by our tale,

thanked him for his service,

we ordered dessert–

it was a celebration,

and yes, that sopapilla cheesecake

(with butter rum sauce)

was delicious.


It snowed once again,

briefly, white flakes touched the ground and melted,

then the sun returned for moving day,

a long day of packing, moving, unloading trucks and cars–

and doing it again,

family this time, not strangers.


We celebrated again

this time with delicious Pakistani food

from a newly discovered restaurant

in their new neighborhood

where the owner, a stranger,

gave them extra naan.

We ate in the kitchen

on paper plates

drank wine from plastic cups,

boxes still to be unpacked,

but they were home,


and their cat finally came out from hiding to explore,

and settled down in front of the fire.



That’s the way life goes

days of sun and days of cold,

but they will be snug in their new home,

a dream house,

a house filled with dreams,

with a fire in their fireplace,

from their bed, they’ll watch the moon,

and maybe even hear it hum a lullaby

as the clouds go dancing by,


they’ll sleep and dream sweet dreams

and they will be strangely glad

to be home.


Photo credit: Sheryl C. Smith, 2017


Here is a brief news segment about Sheryl and Eric on the day they received the key to their new home.

And an article

Eric and Sheryl received their house through Operation Homefront, Homes on the Homefront

We ate pizza at Holy Tomato

And delicious Pakistani food at Mera Khana


42 thoughts on “A New Home, the Kindness of Strangers

  1. Absolutely precious! May you and your family always have such wonderful blessings. And their cat is adorable by the fire.

    Ah, I shall feel my heart glowing all day today, and what a sweet smile you possess, Merril! 💐 🌷 🌹

  2. Beautiful. I love the juxtaposition of your home, your marriage … and now your daughter’s life. She looks so much like you … and feisty. No Blanche duBois, she! What a wonderful organization is Operation Homefront.

    • Thanks so much, Susan!
      She is definitely no Blanche duBois. 🙂 She is a lot like me–except about 6 inches taller and with my husband’s ease at talking to groups.
      I agree Operation Homefront is wonderful.

  3. In addition to all the other hoopla today, notifications of blogs I follow have disappeared. But I am determined not to let that stop me from reading the comments and following the conversation here. Dreams do come true! I love to see the happy photos up close and personal, bold echoes (oxymoron?) of what I saw on Facebook.

  4. Oh, what a wonderful and exciting love story, Merril.
    Congratulations to your daughter, Sheryl and her husband, Eric! ❤ + ❤
    Thank you, Eric for your service! You have a wonderful new beginning and this makes 2017 so much better!
    Your story, Merril and theirs juxtaposed with the play and the book quotes made this into such a beautiful and complete post. 🙂

    • Thanks so much, Robin. I thought everyone would be happy to read something good and positive for a change. 🙂
      It’s been an exciting few days with the moving in process. My husband helped them paint, and he is still going over to help with some repairs and such.

  5. What a lovely story! You tell it as though it’s a fairytale. I hope they have children. They look as though they’d make good parents. That’s about the highest compliment I can give a couple, and I don’t say it often!

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