A Place Called Home

By

A Place Called Home

My husband and I have different concepts of home. To my husband, home will always be the family farmhouse, two-storied, white-framed, sitting on a hill surrounded by acres of cotton, corn, soybeans or peanuts. Wild turkeys strut across the field; deer nibble on soybeans near the edge of the woods.

Outbuildings are scattered behind the farmhouse, outbuildings which were once used by my father-in-law for storing all the equipment necessary to run a farm. One building is the original out-house, minus the potty. Another building was my father-in-law’s wood-working shop in later years; yet another held his prize bottle collection.

He was an avid bottle collector, well-known in his field for his collection of Civil War relics and antique medicine bottles. The bottles are gone, sold in an auction. The wood-working shop is empty, but each son and daughter has furniture that was formed by Granddad’s hands. I have a pie safe, a doll cabinet and a playhouse in the back yard, lovingly built by my father-in-law.

When my husband thinks of home, this is the place that fills his mind. There is the tree that his sister climbed when she wanted to avoid doing the dishes. Here is the site of the former duck pond where his older sister doused the younger sister by turning over her stroller. In the back lot there is a steep hill which was perfect for sledding back when it seemed to snow more than it does today.

Inside the house, little has changed. Each son and daughter claimed some furniture after Granny’s death, but the interior of the house is still much the same. The ugliest vinyl flooring known to man is in the dining room, chosen by Granddad and despised by Granny, yet left intact after all these years because no one wanted to change it.

My husband does not like change. His siblings aren’t too fond of it either, but my husband holds a merit badge for resisting change. I bought him a new recliner for Christmas one year, but he refused to sit in it until June. He had to get used to it. We added on to our house and built a new bedroom, and we chose the new bedroom furniture together, but my husband refused to leave our old bedroom for several weeks after the new room was ready. My sister helped me dismantle our old bed, and he was forced to sleep in the new room. He complained, “That bed is so high, I’m going to get a nose bleed.” My husband does not like change.

Sometimes I think if he had moved about as a child and lived in different houses he might not be so reluctant to embrace change. There’s no way to be sure of it, but I believe I accept change more readily because I moved several times when I was growing up. I was not a military brat, but my father was always trying to improve our living conditions, and our family kept growing. I lived in six different houses before I was eighteen, and my husband thinks that my situation is to be pitied.

“What house do you picture when you think of home?” he asked me one day. I didn’t have a ready answer. I’m still not sure there is a correct answer for me; at least there is not just one answer for me.

Home depends on the period of childhood I’m remembering. If I think about my early childhood, home is a small two-bedroom white frame house on a huge lot with a horseshoe driveway. Because the yard was so large, my siblings and I always thought of our house as large and spacious. This was the yard in which we circled every wagon and doll carriage we owned around the base of a huge tree and played inside that homemade wagon train for hours. My two sisters and I shared one bedroom until I was thirteen years old, but I never thought of that house as small. I never realized how tiny it was until later owners moved it onto a miniscule lot. When I saw it in its new location I barely recognized it.

When I think about my early teen-age years, I think of the brick split-level down a dirt road on the edge of the Dismal Swamp. I had a room to myself, my only brother had a room to himself, and the house had three bathrooms. We thought this house to be a mansion, and it had a den large enough to entertain my friends for sleepovers and a yard large enough to have huge cookouts. This was the house in which my sisters and I skated across our spacious den floor in our socks while the Lennon Sisters sang “Frosted Windowpanes.” This was the house where we had two ponies, several dogs and an occasional bear scare.

There were other houses after that one, but I went away to college and gradually became more detached from my parents’ house. Even after I moved away and married my parents relocated several times. None of those houses was home to me; I was busy making my own home for our two daughters. To me, the home that we have made together is “home.”

My husband still maintains the yard and general upkeep of the family farm, and I know it gives him great pleasure to ride the 1953 FarmAll tractor that was his daddy’s. His younger sister’s ashes now lie scattered beneath the oak tree in the lot, but he still hears his older sister calling, “Linda, where are you? It’s your turn to do the dishes!” Linda giggles from her hideout high in a tree. My husband turns the wheel and guides the tractor carefully down the hill. I leave him to his memories. He is home.

About this writer

  • My husband and I have different concepts of home. To my husband, home will always be the family farmhouse, two-storied, white-framed, sitting on a hill surrounded by acres of cotton, corn, soybeans or peanuts. Wild turkeys strut across the field; deer nibble on soybeans near the edge of the woods.

    Outbuildings are scattered behind the farmhouse, outbuildings which were once used by my father-in-law for storing all the equipment necessary to run a farm. One building is the original out-house, minus the potty. Another building was my father-in-law’s wood-working shop in later years; yet another held his prize bottle collection.

    He was an avid bottle collector, well-known in his field for his collection of Civil War relics and antique medicine bottles. The bottles are gone, sold in an auction. The wood-working shop is empty, but each son and daughter has furniture that was formed by Granddad’s hands. I have a pie safe, a doll cabinet and a playhouse in the back yard, lovingly built by my father-in-law.

    When my husband thinks of home, this is the place that fills his mind. There is the tree that his sister climbed when she wanted to avoid doing the dishes. Here is the site of the former duck pond where his older sister doused the younger sister by turning over her stroller. In the back lot there is a steep hill which was perfect for sledding back when it seemed to snow more than it does today.

    Inside the house, little has changed. Each son and daughter claimed some furniture after Granny’s death, but the interior of the house is still much the same. The ugliest vinyl flooring known to man is in the dining room, chosen by Granddad and despised by Granny, yet left intact after all these years because no one wanted to change it.

    My husband does not like change. His siblings aren’t too fond of it either, but my husband holds a merit badge for resisting change. I bought him a new recliner for Christmas one year, but he refused to sit in it until June. He had to get used to it. We added on to our house and built a new bedroom, and we chose the new bedroom furniture together, but my husband refused to leave our old bedroom for several weeks after the new room was ready. My sister helped me dismantle our old bed, and he was forced to sleep in the new room. He complained, “That bed is so high, I’m going to get a nose bleed.” My husband does not like change.

    Sometimes I think if he had moved about as a child and lived in different houses he might not be so reluctant to embrace change. There’s no way to be sure of it, but I believe I accept change more readily because I moved several times when I was growing up. I was not a military brat, but my father was always trying to improve our living conditions, and our family kept growing. I lived in six different houses before I was eighteen, and my husband thinks that my situation is to be pitied.

    “What house do you picture when you think of home?” he asked me one day. I didn’t have a ready answer. I’m still not sure there is a correct answer for me; at least there is not just one answer for me.

    Home depends on the period of childhood I’m remembering. If I think about my early childhood, home is a small two-bedroom white frame house on a huge lot with a horseshoe driveway. Because the yard was so large, my siblings and I always thought of our house as large and spacious. This was the yard in which we circled every wagon and doll carriage we owned around the base of a huge tree and played inside that homemade wagon train for hours. My two sisters and I shared one bedroom until I was thirteen years old, but I never thought of that house as small. I never realized how tiny it was until later owners moved it onto a miniscule lot. When I saw it in its new location I barely recognized it.

    When I think about my early teen-age years, I think of the brick split-level down a dirt road on the edge of the Dismal Swamp. I had a room to myself, my only brother had a room to himself, and the house had three bathrooms. We thought this house to be a mansion, and it had a den large enough to entertain my friends for sleepovers and a yard large enough to have huge cookouts. This was the house in which my sisters and I skated across our spacious den floor in our socks while the Lennon Sisters sang “Frosted Windowpanes.” This was the house where we had two ponies, several dogs and an occasional bear scare.

    There were other houses after that one, but I went away to college and gradually became more detached from my parents’ house. Even after I moved away and married my parents relocated several times. None of those houses was home to me; I was busy making my own home for our two daughters. To me, the home that we have made together is “home.”

    My husband still maintains the yard and general upkeep of the family farm, and I know it gives him great pleasure to ride the 1953 FarmAll tractor that was his daddy’s. His younger sister’s ashes now lie scattered beneath the oak tree in the lot, but he still hears his older sister calling, “Linda, where are you? It’s your turn to do the dishes!” Linda giggles from her hideout high in a tree. My husband turns the wheel and guides the tractor carefully down the hill. I leave him to his memories. He is home.

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4 Responses to “A Place Called Home”

  1. SUSIE says:

    Love it Kim!

  2. John S. says:

    Wonderful. There is something truly powerful in the feeling one gets when they think of “home”.

  3. Bill Frierson says:

    Another thoroughly enjoyable “easy writer” piece by Kim Seeley. Keep ’em coming!

  4. Kathy F. says:

    As usual, Kim, a great article! Brings back good memories. Love your stories!

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