Family Friday #5 There’s no place like home!
When Jim and I got married we first lived in a quonset hut in Bellflower. Our church had bought some property that was dubbed the promised land and we were to move into a small house on that property once the escrow closed. So we lived in the place Jim had lived in prior to our wedding. It was owned by the Ruhlens. One night I put on my army pants and boots and served meatloaf and mashed potatoes like we were in the army!
We lived together in Downey for 6 years. There were several places on the promised land but we chose the small house (8331 3rd St.) behind an old white victorian with pink trim. That was the first amazing decision because the Degraffts moved into the front house. We almost bought our first home in Downey. I even went to work for Pella Windows so we could qualify but then God made our call to Arizona so clear. So in 1986 we moved to Scottsdale and lived there for 10 years. Our first home was amazing and when we bought it we did not know it, but it was really close to the Howards, Jim’s cousins, which was a treasure almost as much as living near my aunt Janie! Also, the tradition of Thanksgiving with my family began. I loved that house (3107 N. 82nd St.).
Moving to Illinois was not easy and we had no idea of where to live. It was too expensive to live near Trinity and so Jim sublet a flat – sight unseen – from a student at Trinity. The blessing of the neighborhood in Waukegan was a gift. We only lived in the two flat at 415 Ridgeland for 2 years and our neighbors and friends, Steve & Karen Albrecht, sold us their home at 433 Ridgeland and we moved 4 houses up the street. In spite of the wallpaper, which I hated, I loved that house- nearly 100 years old and the nicest house on the street!
Moving back “home” to California was really for me and Jim; our kids had known only Illinois. And once we were here we lived in 2 houses in Fullerton. After Jim died it was Whittier and Downey, Now it is somewhere new with new surprises and adventures to anticipate.
We think about homes as places, residences or dwellings, but they are so much more than that. Houses are bought and sold. They don’t last forever, but the memories do – both good and bad. So, what is home? It can mean so many different things and have even more nuances of definition. The thing about home is that no matter where you go or the places you live, there is always a longing for the feeling of home. For me it includes some physical stuff but primarily home is my people: My parents. My siblings and their offspring. My Jim. My children. It is the sound of their voices echoing in the halls of my mind. It is their laughter. It is the reality of their love. It is acceptance and forgiveness, security and community, and identity and possibility. Home is where we start from and where our future begins. It is where I am wanted and where I always want to be. Home gives sustenance and hope, grounding and truth.
Everywhere I have lived have had blessings and surprises. There were hard things too, of course, but there is still no place like home. I think about my spaces in my parents’ homes as a child and my homes as an adult. There have been varieties of styles, decor and furniture – some I have chosen and some chosen for me – and always books. Lots of books. On August 23, 1980, Jim and I established our home. Our family. Our place of refuge. We chose that together we would be home as we gave space and made room for the other in both our hearts and in life. Even though I wonder about where I will live next, and I may worry about being houseless, I will never be homeless. I wish there was no more homelessness – and I long for my heavenly home.