One year ago my grandma died. It’s kind of hard to believe it’s been a year. Living so far away means I didn’t see her all that much over the last decade, the loss isn’t so noticeable in the day-to-day. We went back for the funeral and one of the eulogies was given by my Uncle. I’ve been thinking about what he said on and off for a year.

He talked about how no matter where he lived or what happened that he always had a HOME with my grandparents. And now that she was gone, that sense of HOME was gone with her.

See, my grandparents moved to the family farm in 1960. My dad was born on that hill, and when I was 2 my parents bought a 5 acre plot of that farm and put a trailer for our family. When I was 7, we built our house. I grew up across the street from my grandparents, which was mostly a blessing – but a little “Everybody Loves Raymond” when they would call asking where we had been “so late,” you know after 6 pm, while in high school. But mostly it was great as a kid. We could walk to grandma’s any time we wanted. They were our sitters when my parents went out. They were HOME.

The reason this struck me so pointedly is that this is the uncle who moved away from the small town near the farm on the hill. My other uncle lived only a few miles away, but this one lived in Baltimore, and then the so far away (2.5 hours) city of Indianapolis before ultimately building a house on the land next to the uncle a few miles away the year before I went to college. My grandparents had the luxury of all of their children and grandchildren within a few miles and most of my grandma’s siblings and there children withing a few counties. But I moved away. It was expected in college, but then I graduated and didn’t move HOME. I moved half-way across the country to the biggest city I could. But I always had a HOME, and referred to the house on the hill.

My parents divorced and moved out of the house on the hill. They even moved to different cities. But Grandma still lived at HOME, and Madison is where I thought of when we talked about visiting family. But this past year, we have visited mom’s house or dad’s house. Both houses are very nice and it’s really the people we are visiting that  make it what it is, but it’s odd not having the feeling of going HOME. On the one occasion I was in Madison last spring when my nephew was born it was so weird to drive MY HOUSE and Grandma’s house and know that other people are living there.

I think that I and my parents always envisioned that the house on the hill is where my children would play on visits HOME. In some ways it was just a house, but in others it was so much more. I love my life in the big city. I even love our small apartment. But sometimes I miss HOME, and I wonder what kinds of feelings my boys will have about their childhood abode. Rob, only lived in his childhood home until middle-school, but it’s still the place he talks about.

Where do you consider your roots and HOME?

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5 thoughts on “H-O-M-E

  1. Damn. MY grandparents’ house is HOME, the only place I’ve known my whole life, and it’s the place I’m going to say goodbye to next weekend. 🙁 Growing up and on is hard sometimes when it means saying goodbye.

    1. I’m so sorry about your loss, but glad you get to make the trip to say goodbye. It’s tough. I cried more when we lost our part of the farm than Grandma’s house, but that was the last true tie to home.

  2. My entire extended family (Mom’s side) all still live within like 5 miles of each other in rural Minnesota. Also, my parents just built a new house to retire in (wheelchair accessible, etc. in anticipation of wanting to be able to die there if possible. morbid, but smart)… and it’s on the same farm site as the house I grew up in — which my sister & her husband just bought, so whenever we go “home” – it’s still the family house, family farm, etc. I’d feel totally lost if that farm was owned by someone else! I’m glad that so far someone else in my fam is going to carry on the tradition of keeping the family farm in the family…

    1. We tried so hard to save it and have my brother buy it. But the recession and some family job loss made it impossible. I think it’s awesome your sister is living in your childhood home.

  3. I never had that experience of having one place as home–for me home has always been people (my parents and brother), because we moved around and because we lived so far from the rest of my family. I never really felt like I was missing out as a kid, but now is a very exciting time because we’ve finally bought our house that–hopefully–will be ours until the boys graduate high school. It’s an experience I want for them but can’t relate to at all.

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