This post was inspired by Shari’s “Home Sweet Home.”
A simple brick townhouse at the end of the row. Two stories tall, with a small courtyard and a single-car garage. We had a soft blue sofa against one wall, and a baby grand piano by the window. We kept our pet rabbit in a cage in the kitchen.
I remember sitting in the back of my dad’s study while he worked, reading the 1983 Farmer’s Almanac and declaring Thomas Jefferson my favorite president. I remember the big vanity in my parents’ bedroom where my mom would brush my hair, and I would point out lumps in my ponytail in the mirror. I remember trying to slide down the stairs on my stomach and getting rug burn. I remember looking out my bedroom window and imagining I could fly.
A one-story “ranch” in the back corner of a tree-lined, U-shaped street. (But we don’t call them ranches in Texas, because that term means something else here.) The owner before us was a middle-aged playboy who bricked over the yard so he wouldn’t have to mow. There’s a fireplace in the center of the house, allowing both sides of the living room to enjoy the warmth and the flickering light.
I remember climbing up to the split-level library and sliding the bookcase back to reveal a secret passage to the attic. I remember having a sleepover with three girl friends in middle school, all of us splayed out on the rug underneath the dining table, talking into the late hours of the night. I remember my first boyfriend knocking on my bedroom window, unable to climb in because it had been painted shut. I remember sitting on the roof for hours, singing made-up love songs and writing stories in my journal under the moonlight.
A two-bed, two-bath unit in a condo complex. All the doorknobs, cabinets, and light fixtures are straight out of a builder’s catalog — plain and old-fashioned, but ours. Big sliding glass doors look out over a woody hillside, where deer and squirrels like to pass by. Art adorns every wall, a growing museum of our world travels.
I remember taking couch cushions into the kitchen so I could sleep by Riley’s crate on his first night at home. I remember the excitement of putting our new bed frame together — only to find that we had left a crucial piece back at IKEA. I remember hosting a dinner party for nine of our friends, tables and chairs crammed into whatever space we could find, the air warming with the scent of pheasant and squash, our ears swelling with the sound of voices and laughter.
Over the years I’ve learned: home is just a word, until you fill it with memories.