Last weekend, my family and I spent the weekend with a beloved aunt at her home in the little town of West Brookfield, Massachusetts. A town that has lived in my heart as fully as I lived in that town as a child. To walk the streets, watch the town come alive, take in the quiet, and walk through the house that I spent so much time in since I was a kid. It got me thinking about the idea of home. Where is my home?
I was born in Florida, and after my birth, spent only my first few weeks of life there. Then, my mom, dad, and older brother and sister returned to my father’s childhood home, West Brookfield. After spending a brief time living with my dad’s parents, we found a house in a town close to West Brookfield, but by the time that I was seven years old, we were living in West Brookfield. We lived there for three years before my dad got a job that transferred him to an hour north in New Hampshire, and we had to move. But, the impact was permanent. West Brookfield was the place that I would forever call my home.
I spent nine years in New Hampshire before I left for college. We lived in two nice houses, I had many happy memories there, and New Hampshire is where I had moved from when I went to college. But, it was never what I considered as my home, in my heart. My childhood town, my home, was still West Brookfield.
Why is that, I wondered? What about it still calls to me? Part of that is the home that my grandparents lived in for most of my life. The one that I stayed in this past weekend. The rooms remain the same, even with new paint and different furniture, they are the rooms that I played in, ate in, slept in as a child. When we still lived there, I would walk to my grandparents’ house, this same house, after school, have a snack, visit with my grandmother, then make my way home. When we moved to New Hampshire, I would come for whatever school vacations I could get away, and spend a week with my grandmother, grandfather, and aunt, wandering around the house, sitting on the stairs for hours in deep conversation with my cousin, laughing and playing and feeling so at home, so comfy and loved and connected.
Besides that house, what else? The town, the town. Quaint, small, untouched by big chain stores and fast paced living. A fountain on the common, yes, a common in the middle of the town. Everything from bonfires to picnics to baseball games take place there. And, a bandstand. A bandstand that was built shortly before we moved away, and I actually played my clarinet with my school band on there, when it was brand new. Houses that are historical, that were built over one hundred, some close to two hundred years ago, and still emit that original design, feel, and spirit. A cemetery that has native americans buried there, my people, as well as others from a hundred years ago. A lake where I learned how to swim. All of my friends within walking distance of my house, so I could find my way to them easily.
Then, the familiarity, the friendliness of it all. Still, this weekend, people smiling and saying good morning as I walk down the street. They don’t know me, but they think that they do, or want me to feel welcome. Boston Red Sox fans all over the place, which for me, is so welcoming, considering that our New England family lives in the heart of New York Yankees and Giants territory…… scary……
So many aspects, so many details that make this place home to me. Always and forever I know. I know that no matter what family members of mine still live there, this place, this specific town, circumstance and little piece of map, is where my heart always is and will be. While we were there, we tried to figure out ways that we could return there to live, to make a life there together, to dream a dream of return to home and make it a reality. You see, my true love of my life grew up only a short distance from this beloved town, as strange as that sounds. It is strange and wonderful and karmic and connected. We are meant to be there, sometime in our future. And, it will always be home for us, a home for our lives and our hearts.
Where is home for you? If it is not where you are now, can you get there?
Get there, your heart needs it…..