We all have those places where we feel most at home, where we feel safe, where we feel relaxed, where we feel happy, or where we feel loved. Some of those places we associate with a good memory or a particular person or maybe, just with that certain feeling we get when we are there. I often say that I love any place where my children are. The truth is that I love my children and I love being with them. So wherever they are, I feel love and I’m happy to be there. It’s the people I have the connection to and not the place!
I honestly do have lots of places that I love though. Many of them remind me of my childhood. I still have a certain affinity for winding mountain roads and cold, clear streams because I spent time in places like that growing up. I also love being on the lake and anywhere near the ocean. (If my elemental sign is not water, then something is not right!)
I’ve noticed as I’ve gotten older, places that used to give me that happy feeling just don’t anymore. I used to love the house I grew up in, but since my parents divorce and all the unpleasantness involved in the selling the house, I no longer look at it the same way.
There also used to be a house in Blowing Rock, NC that was a source of joy and contentment to me. It belonged to my great-grandparents and it was our Mayberry! We used to spend a lot of time in the summer there and I have so many fond memories. After my great-grandparents moved back home, the house was sold. I visited it with some of my family a few years before my children were born (sometime in the 90’s). It looked nothing like the house I used to love. The owners at the time had even walled in the banisters we used to slide down. It was such a sad day! I think it’s been revamped quite a bit since then to bring back some of the original features, but it will never be the same for me.
I’d like to say I love the place I live now. I just can’t. My husband and children have grown up in this area, so it’s home to them. I’ve never gotten that feeling of belonging here though. If they weren’t here, I don’t think it would be at all hard for me to leave. It just doesn’t feel like home unless they are around.
Home to me is Nannie and Pawpaw Bud’s house. I belong there. I feel safe there. All of my memories of the place don’t involve sunshine and lollipops, but someone is always waiting to welcome me in the door. It’s a link to my childhood and to the family that I used to be close to. It’s the closest place to my childhood home that I can get without trudging up the hill and knocking on a door that now belongs to someone else.
It’s a constant in my ever-moving, ever-changing world. I know the cool, damp stones that go down into the basement. I know the heat of the upstairs in the summertime. I know the taste of the sweet ice tea and the pound cake that are bound to be found in the kitchen. I know the smell of the mint and the lemon balm, the feel of the grass in the field behind the house, and the sound of old hymns being played on the piano. I even know the old ghost stories and the threat of “Harkness will be watching you if you go upstairs!”
It is still a place I love. It is a place I belong. And when I go there, I am home.