Friday, January 30, 2009

Article #40 Where is Home?

A popular question to ask a new acquaintance is…“So where’s your home?” With our increasingly mobile society, that’s not an easy question. Where is home? Is it where we were raised or where we raised our family? The answer is different for each person. I’ve lived in too many places to call any particular place home but my grandparent’s residences in Utah were always an anchor to me. Visiting them during my growing up years felt like coming home. (Photo above was taken in 1949 in Eureka, Utah at my grandma's house. That's me in the middle of the snow.) Unfortunately, both my grandparent's houses are no longer standing. Now I realize it wasn’t the actual physical structures, but the relationship I had with them that made it home.

While in Texas recently, we were able to see my husband’s physical home in the town where he was born and raised. During a cousin’s reunion there, we also traveled to his maternal grandparents farm nearby. It was fun to listen to my husband tell of his adventures as a young child with his grandparents. Their farm house is still preserved and owned by a cousin, so we were able to tour inside and walk the surrounding property. 

Memories flooded my husband’s mind as he walked through his grandparents’ home. The walls, windows, stairs and surroundings of the house reminded him of fond experiences with his family. Big Momma cooked the meals on this stove. She made me little pancakes that looked like a snowman. I slept on this enclosed porch in the hot humid summers with an old electric fan. Out by the pump house I built a fort and played. As we walked outside through the pasture and by a small creek flowing nearby, the stream had been damned up to make a fishing hole, my husband recalled…Here I went fishing with my grand dad. The remnants of hundreds of pecan trees that were planted to make an orchard still remain as a witness to his grand dad’s industry.

His grandparents owned a country store which is still standing. (Photo above is his mom and grand dad Laxson at the country store in Purmela, Texas-click to enlarge.) My husband helped out there during the summers: candling eggs, and developing good work habits by helping in this family enterprise. He had returned to his home but it wasn’t the same as his grandparents and parents were no longer there. All he had was the memories of his experiences with his kinfolk and a sense of belonging that only home can give you.


  1. Hey, I read your article in a small paper while waiting for hubby's flight last night. Good for you.

    You're right, home isn't so much about a place as it is about the people and memories of your time together.

  2. I had a discussion about this topic recently when asked what was my home town. To me, that will always be Detroit, where I was raised, but that usage seems to be shifting to include one's current place of residence.

  3. This is a cool post, Lin. My great grandparents also owned a general store in Scranton, Pa. I will have to find and post a picture too.

    DC feels like home to me most of the time. I was there this weekend and ran into at least five old friends in the temple. Made me miss it.

  4. That's alot of snow!!!! I love the picture of the store...Biggie always let me pick out a candy and drink a Sunkist out of the bottle.

  5. I don't think I have ever seen a picture of my great grand father. But I remember that store well. I always loved going there, we got to pick out one piece of candy. Great picture.

  6. Lin,
    The idea of home and of going home are constantly in question these days. I think there is tremendous value in feeling a part of a place. I say this as a New Englander whose family has been here for 400 years. I know, too, that family moves along and down the roads and that finding them again is also home. It's a lesson I struggle with quite a lot. I know a family who left NJ for CT in 1978. They still haven't gotten here yet. The pull of place is strong; but the heart makes home wherever it is.

  7. about memories..but many of my childhood memories of my home are not pleasant..Maybe I will talk about them sometimes. But I made my own home for my husband and daughter...

  8. About four years after Wayne and I were married, I mentioned I wanted to go HOME for a week or so and spend some time with my recently widowed mother. I'll never forget the look on my sweet hubby's face as he said, "I thought your HOME was with me now".

    The point here is that HOME means different things at different times in all of our lives. The HOME where I raised my children will always have a very tender hold on my heart... Our HOME here at the Hollow offers my soul such refreshment that I wonder if I'll ever be able to leave it. It's become such a part of me. It seems to draw me closer to my eternal HOME and I am at one with this land.

    This past week we were staying with my son in Huntington Beach in Southern California. As I walked the shoreline and watched the sandpipers chasing the tide, I felt as if I'd come HOME. Memories of my childhood wrapped themselves around me like tenticles and I was aware of a familiar attachment to the sand and sea that will always feel like HOME.

    This was another interesting and thought provoking article, Lin.

    I've been rethinking the article on simplifying. I seem to have made it complicated in my head. I may have to leave another comment..

  9. In the now, "home is where the heart is" - that is the ones you love that love you and your time spent together - precious memories. Then, there's the old homestead (if there is one), where your roots are - where you grew up and the memories that were made there.