Monday Memoir – What’s Home? Where are you from?

oval wooden spiral staircase that is well worn

This was inspired by the question “Where is home?” in An Old Friend From Far Away by Natalie Goldburg. Actually the question I get asked a lot but never quite know how to answer is “Where are you from?” Now I know people who knew me in school would shout Tennessee but honestly I’ve lived out of Tennessee longer than I lived in it. Honestly if you count the years in one place Kenosha, Wisconsin is where I’ve lived the longest in my life.

My accent is muddled. People hear some Southern in it but in the true South they ask where I’m from. Then again I’ve been asked that all my life. When I volunteered at Laughlin Hospital as a candystriper patients I helped always asked me where I was from. I don’t know why but I was told I didn’t sound or act like I was from there. Still don’t I guess, nor do I act like I’m from any where apparently. I’ve pondered the from answer and best I can give is the Southeast – Tennessee, South Carolina, and Florida.

But honestly where I’m from is a totally different question from what’s home. Home for me isn’t a place, I can make a home any where and I have. Home for me is where Mike and I meet after work, hang out on the weekends, and our pets stay while we go out. It can be Ballston Spa, New York to Kalamazoo, Michigan to Orlando, Florida to Black Point, Connecticut to Oak Ridge, Tennessee and so on naming all the places we’ve lived that fit that criteria. We hope come retirement that it’s on wheels and moves about with us. Home is where my heart is and my heart is with my husband. You might ask what about Aaron my son? Sure my heart is with him but he’s a grown man now on his own, he doesn’t live at my home any more he’s making his own. Isn’t that why we have children to raise them so they don’t need us?

Is there a place that feels more home than others? Sure the ocean and mountains as long as there is history there. I didn’t feel comfortable in Kalamazoo because it barely went back 150 years in history. I felt like a foundation was stripped away. Same goes for here in Wisconsin, in a place where they act like the Civil War was a long time ago pales to walking past Blackbeard’s house in Charleston from the 1600s. Also flat land makes me feel odd. I can’t explain it but when we moved here to Wisconsin I felt stripped of protection from the land, the lake isn’t as tidal and wave filled as the ocean, there were no mountains rising up to hold me. I felt the land lacked character it is flat and hill is a hard thing to find. Still for now it’s home and I’ve gotten used to it. Though honestly after a week Naples, Italy was as much home as here in many ways. I felt more comfortable with the land even though I didn’t speak the language. I can’t explain it. I can only tell you what’s in my heart.

I guess for me there are no simple answers to those questions. I am at home in the world, just some areas are more comfy to me than others. I am at home with my husband and pets regardless of where they are. I’m from the world, the USA, the South… I have wanderlust staying in one place doesn’t appeal to me. Luckily I married a man who feels the same way. We’re restless but have to stay here so we do things to the house (new carpet, new windows, paint, wallpaper, etc.) and rearrange the furniture looking forward to when our home is on wheels and can go any where there’s a road.

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