Home is where Your Heart is

Webster’s describes home as “the center of one’s affections; comfortable, at ease, familiar.” I would add: a haven from the external world.

Here’s a tale of two homes: mine, and a younger family friend’s. While we both grew up in Georgia, home has no geographic boundaries. As my mother says, “Home is where the Christmas tree is.”

My parents could see our future farmhouse on a hill but it took quite some time to locate it. We moved in when I was two – after they had removed the copperheads from the closets. It was only four miles from the currently booming Marietta Square but it was in the country then. Just us and seven black families and their church on a dirt road. Cows in the yard. A chicken coop and tiny well house that my Daddy turned into a playhouse complete with a bunk bed and sink with running water. Forts in the woods. The sound of the huge farm bell calling us for dinner.
I loved it.

Because it wasn’t in tip-top shape, the five children could run freely both inside and out. My daredevil younger sister, riding an iron tricycle through the house at breakneck speeds, left grooves in every doorway careening from room to room, often with me holding on for dear life. Playing hide-and-seek. knowing no one would find you in the closet behind the linens on the hot water heater. Going to the woods behind our house, picking out the best Christmas tree that still needed holes drilled into the trunk to add branches. Wild chases inside with our German Shepherd. My brother playing army. The energy was palpable.

Feelings accompany memories. Stifling August heat and the windy clanking of the unframed, loose window screens in my dark bedroom. Standing alone on the front porch during a storm listening to the escalating symphony of rustling leaves from our 100’ sycamore tree swirling about, which brought on such excitement I can feel it still. My mother and I mutely transfixed on the porch swing watching a warehouse burn a mile away. Nothing that exciting had ever happened.

Remodeling in the 60s brought a new feel – more formal and beautiful – bringing new kinds of memories. Taking my telescope to the upstairs porch where I could see who was on top of the Ferris wheel at the fair. Talking for hours with friends on the porch rocking chairs. The taste and smell of newly picked tomatoes, snap peas and corn from Daddy’s garden. Christmas night parties with 75 children and adults loudly interspersed. Sneaking out by climbing down the tree just outside my parents’ bathroom window. Getting married on the forecourt my father had just completed the day before. Too many wonderful memories to recount. I’m the better for
each one.

Bryan Barks, our family’s adopted friend, eloquently reminisced about her home that had recently been sold.

“Today my family moved out of my childhood home in Athens. That house had stories to tell before we came along, but we added quite a few of our own — 20 years’ worth. It was the house where I gained a stepdad, where my brother and sister came home from the hospital, where they took their first steps and said their first words.

Where I had my first kiss with Chris and, eight years later, where I put on my wedding dress and got ready to marry him. Where I graduated from high school and college and became an adult, where I watched Tucker become one, too. Where my mom and I sat on the patio for hours talking about our dreams. Where we spent many nights with friends gathered around the fire pit, where we watched election returns, where we crafted Halloween costumes and school projects and decorated Christmas tree after Christmas tree, each one seemingly bigger than the last. Where my aunt and uncle got married. Where I struggled and where I found my feet.
I didn’t know my last time in the house would be my last. I wish I had. I would have walked every room, run my fingers across every wall and window. This is where we became who we are. This is where we became a family. I will miss that house and every sweetness and prickle and footstep it holds forever.”

Bryan nailed it.
“This is where we became who we are.”

Peggy Crowe is a REALTOR® who completely gets that houses are more than a structure. They are the corner stone for our hearts. You may contact her at peggycrowerealtor@gmail.com.

Peggy Crowe
Written by Peggy Crowe