Where is home?

A new box of books

The Lucky Ones is a story about the place we call home. What does that mean? I find it’s different things to different people. For me, it’s different things at different times.

“It’s where I grew up.” Except my dad was in the Marines and we moved a few times. I suppose I could have said where I was born—Wilmington, North Carolina—but we moved back and forth to Kentucky a couple of times, and I left Wilmington for good at ten years old. I contrast that with my partner Jenny, who lived for eighteen years in a tiny town in Middle Tennessee. She recently renovated that house, in which her mother lived to age 99. Jenny thinks of this as home.

“It’s where my family lives.” This one has some merit. My dad finished his twenty years in the service when I was fourteen, and we moved from Pittsburgh to a small town in the North Carolina foothills where we had extended family. I went to high school there, and I visited for many years before my parents passed away. I remember it as a church-centered, culturally conservative community, but I still have friends there. It’s possible I’ll go back in a few years for my 50th high school reunion.

“Home is wherever Jenny is.” Can’t argue with this one. I moved to Miami 26 years ago to be with her, and to the Bay Area when the company she worked for moved its headquarters to Silicon Valley. When she retired we became snowbirds, toggling between Miami and the mountains of North Carolina. When we decided last year to settle in one place once and for all, I wanted to live in a city. We chose Nashville, as it was convenient to the place she called home. The bottom line is I’d follow her anywhere.

“California feels like the place I belong.” I loved our first stint in the Golden State, six years in Los Gatos. Hiking trails that led to breathtaking vistas, easy access to vibrant San Francisco, and only a short hop to places like Big Sur and Half Moon Bay. Best of all, there was striking consensus on progressive values, so I always felt that my neighbors appreciated diversity and cared about others. Jenny didn’t take to it quite as much as I did, but she agreed to give it another try in 2011. This time, we moved to the Palm Springs area, to a golf community that unfortunately lost its shine when my back troubles left me unable to play. Some of our very best friends live in California, and I’ll probably always have the itch to return. Or at least set my books there.

“Home is where the heart is.” Or perhaps where my warmest memories reside. This one rings especially true when I consider our years in Boone, North Carolina. My brother lived with us off and on, and my mom spent her last couple of years at our house after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. We had spectacular seasons, which we watched with awe from our back deck, keeping company with birds, squirrels, bears and deer. Even the snow, which made us wary about living there year round, brought a peaceful beauty. It was a difficult decision to leave, but access to specialized health care and public transportation become more important as you age. I’m sure to always feel connected to Boone, since it’s the place we’ll “go home to” to spend holidays with my nieces and nephews. When I think of all the great times I had there with my family, I can see that my heart is there.

***********************

So what is home to you? I’d love to read your answers, either here or on Facebook. From those who post, I’ll draw a few names to receive one of my review copies of The Lucky Ones. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

27 Responses to “Where is home?”

  1. Home is with my Erin.

  2. ummm… If you’ve ever seen the movie “We Are Marshall”, that is where I grew up. I lived in Ohio, worked in WV and bought my cigs in Ky. And after coming to Texas in 2002, that is where I returned in 2013. My 2 youngest kids were there as was my brother and lots of family. And I was so …I don’t know the word. Oh, miserable. lol My Christmas present to myself was to return to Texas on Christmas Eve, 2016. Round Rock, Texas…This is home. No reasoning behind it.

  3. I’ve had 38 addresses over my 57 years, and I plan on moving again next year. It makes me wonder if I really know what “home” means or feels like. I set up my dwelling, surrounding myself with familiar comfort-giving things, my cat, my books, etc. But it’s always been easy to pick up and move without looking back, without yearning or regret. Maybe that’s why I move so often; I’m looking for home.

  4. Home is where Peggy is. My folks are still alive and living in the house I grew up in. When I go back to Chicago for visits, I say I’m going home. Doing the math, I only lived there for fifteen years. I’ve been in my own home for 22. Sonthat settles it, home is where Peggy is.

  5. I’ve loved reading these. I can relate to so many of them. If you’ve read these and haven’t yet commented, please do!

  6. I lived in the same house in Fresno California from age 2 to age 23. I lived in several other places from then to my current age 59. My Mom and Dad’s house felt like home for a very long time. They let me come back a couple of times when I needed to. The last time I was there I took care of my Mom until she passed away in August 2013.
    Where is home? Home is where my heart is and my heart is with the woman is have been with for 22 years and married to for 11, the love of my life my wife Nancy

  7. Home is a place where you feel warm, safe and happy. For me like for most of us it’s where we come from and where we are now.

    For all refugees and other people uprooted I hope that’ll be true for them, too. Eventually.

  8. I’ve always been nomadic, but home was always where my mom was. With her passing, home is where ever I am.

  9. My wife and I have a sign in our kitchen that reads, “wherever we are together, that is home”. That statement just rings so true for me.

    Recently, we uprooted ourselves from our home (house) of 25 years, got rid of most of our belongings and moved to a tiny apartment on my Mom’s property in order to care for her after my Dad’s passing. At first the move felt almost traumatic. But, settling here with my wife, and creating a cozy little dwelling together, feels just as much like home as any place we have ever been, because we are together.

  10. Home has changed for me over time. It is now Minnesota with my wife, Sherrie, and our two lovable and spoiled pups. Wherever we are, it is home.

  11. Home is Fairhaven, a small town on the south coast of Massachusetts. Could you pick a better name for a town? My wife grew up right here and I grew up nearby. Everything is close, most of our family and friends, the ocean, and Provincetown is less than 2 hours away. Perfection.

    • You are here. Equals Home. Having moved all around as a kid, we finally settled in Seal Beach, CA when I was in 3rd grade. This was Home through college. Then Home was a few places in Texas. Then I met my life partner and our Home became Maine. After 20 years I am now finally Home, with my partner, in Maine.

  12. As an army brat, home has always been where I am now. The house I’m in, I had to rebuild after the levee breaks after Katrina and it has officially become the longest place I’ve every lived. Home is where we make it.

  13. I was born in California and we moved around a lot, at 6 we moved to Wisconsin a year later back to California , at the age of 8 we moved to Iowa. We moved two more times within Iowa until I graduated. My intention was to move back to California but the cost of living by the ocean was too much. So for the longest time I called Hampton, where I graduated from home, but as I have aged it’s not the places as it is the people who you call home.

  14. Home…something I’ve though about off and on for a while after my wife asked me, “if anything were to happen to me, where would you live?” Being born and raised in FL for 46 years, you’d think that would be home. Nope, never moving back. Spent 5+ years on the Western Slope of Colorado. I never knew such beauty existed. From there to Reno (so-so) and finally, Seattle area. No place felt like “home” though. That is, until we went back to Colorado for work/pleasure. It’s there I felt “home”. So there’s your answer honey, Colorado. That’s where I’ll live if anything happens to you. It’s your heart and soul that I’ll find there, and it’s where I’ll need to be.

  15. Home is wherever my wife and I are together. Right now that is the home she bought in Philly for us to be together. Before we moved here in 2016 my home was a couple of blocks away in the house my parents bought in 1950 and where I’d lived from the time I was 2. So geographically I haven’t gone far but my life was altered immeasurably by the addition of Love & Marriage.

  16. I can relate to multiple homes. Your blog hit home (forgive the pun). My parents moved a lot when I was growing up. I moved, on average, once every year and a half until I was 18. When I married I was in one home for three years and finally in our current home for 18 years. This is home. However, since I was born and mostly raised in California, that will always be home. I had many growing pains in Utah and that will always be home, too. The family I came in to and the family I created will have special places in my heart so that when I am with them, that is home. Great bog.
    Thank you.

  17. The Oregon Coast is home now. It’s where my wife feels the best, it reminds me very much of Provincetown where we got married and loved to vacation from 2007 to 2014, my family are Connecticut Yankees and vacationed on the Connecticut shore from 1935 to 1975, so living by the beach in a tiny town feels familiar. I grew up in New Jersey from age 6 until I went away to college and refer to myself as Jersey girl, and it was home (even when I lived in Maryland and Florida for 20 years, though they moved out of the house I grew up in) until my mom died, but since my parents passed away it no longer feels like home. My parent would have been 80 and 81 years old this year and if they were still living I have to admit if I were walking through their door, for that time, I imagine it would feel like coming home again.

  18. Home is where my wife and dogs are! We love adventuring as a family. We’re usually getting out in the Pacific Northwest, near Seattle, WA and Bend, OR. Mountains, beaches, forests and deserts are always fun to explore as long as I have my girls with me! 🙂 ❤️

  19. I’m a lot like you. My dad was retired Air Force. So many places are home. He retired in Phoenix so I consider that my childhood home. I loved Seattle and would love to move back there. I consider that home, too. But as Anita and Iget older, I want o live closer family. I miss my family. So maybe Wisconsin or Indiana. They have seasons there. We live in Anaheim right now and I hate SoCal. I’ve lived here twice. Always hated it, still do. I think home is a 2 part love affair. One is where you have spent growing up with parents. The 2nd is where you feel the most comfortable. Do you end up there? Not always. But your heart remains there.

    • I think identifying “home” changes as you age. Now that we’ve reached senior status, home is where my wife and I and our two little dogs feel protected and inspired by the forest around us.

  20. Like you, home is several places. Norway is a big one. I was born there but only spent 3 years there before I was adopted and came to America. I spent about 60 years in the Los Angeles area and then retired with my wife to Washington.

    • Home is where I am now. With my Wife, our Daughter and Son and our three Grandchildren. I wouldnt care if it was a box under a bridge as long as we are together it is Home.

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