My daughter, her husband, and their toddler, Trinity Ann, are moving
from Minneapolis, Minnesota to our place. It's a long story, but the
short version is that they will be loading a Ryder truck on Saturday,
and on Sunday afternoon we will unload it into a storage unit
in our town. They will move themselves, their two cats and their BIG
dog into our place. Yes, there will be issues, but this Friday Five
isn't really about that. (Prayers for jobs for them and patience for
all of us are most welcome, however.) This post is about locations. My
husband has lived at 64 addresses in his life so far (16 with me) and
he suggested the topic since we have moving trucks on our minds.
Therefore, tell us about the five favorite places you have lived in
your lifetime. What did you like? What kind of place was it? Anything
special happen there?
I've lived in six cities/towns over my lifetime, although I've lived at fourteen addresses in those towns (not counting college). But let me write about the places that have most felt like home. And I guess it 's no surprise that they are all older homes.
1) My first home, in Jane Austen's Village, remained an active part of my dream life for many, many years. My parents bought the house shortly after they married, and although we lived in Northern Virginia (you know, Fake Virginia) for the six years my dad was in the U.S. Senate, we got home to JA's V as often as possible, where my grandmother moved into the house. I loved, loved, loved going "home" to JA's V. In my bedroom there I had an ancestral family crib for my dolls and the Queen of all dolls, my grandmother's large early 1900s jointed doll, Miss Emily. When we closed up my parents' house years later, I gave the doll to a local museum, because I feared transporting her. I have to say I sometimes regret that, although I know she is safer in that setting.
2) In NoVa, we lived in three different houses, but one of them felt like home because we rented it for five years. 2209 Belle Haven Road also appears in my dreams, still, from time to time. I have both wonderful and awful memories of that time, but what I most treasure about that house would be the trees in the yard. I had a magnolia outside my window and a charming flowering apple tree in the backyard, both climbable.
3) When we returned to Jane Austen's Village in 1973, it was to a new home, but another old house. This house, built in the early 19th century by two brothers, had both a full house on one end and a four room apartment at the other end, with addresses on two different streets. My grandmother lived in the apartment, with communicating doors on the first and second floor. For the first six months I camped out in the library, but soon I had a wonderful room on the third floor of the house. I loved being up there. (I frequently stayed up too late, since no one could see my light on…) We only lived there three years before moving on to Historic Billsburg, for a new opportunity for my dad, but my parents kept the house and moved back to it when he retired. I also dream about this house, its high ceilings and incredible windows, a sort of fairy tale castle in its dreamed expansiveness.
4) Ah, Montague Circle. It was the newest house I've ever lived in, and it had lots of conveniences and lots of oddities (orange kitchen sink, circa 1969, for instance). It was the last place we all lived together, and it frequently appears in dreams of my parents. I learned to drive when I lived there, made out in the family room with a red-headed bagpiper who had a summer job at Busch Gardens, brought friends home from college to play bridge at my mother's card table, was the third wheel on the first date of two friends who eventually married and later divorced. (Are you still shocked by the one about the bagpiper? You shouldn't be; I've always had a weakness for redheads.) I was married–the first time–from that house, moved through it in the pitch black of a storm power outage to find my grandmother lying on the floor, wrote long lists of boys I loved, learned to scramble eggs and cook spaghetti sauce and broil a cube steak.
5) Our Dutch Colonial on a dead-end street with an esplanade of maples, here in City By the Sea, has been my home for over ten years now. I've never lived anywhere this long. I came here still wondering how I would put my life back together, post-divorce. The house was a mess, and so was I, and gradually we both got better. Several years later I found a list written into the midst of my divorce, a list of qualities I hoped to find in a new home. Although I had forgotten the list, I realized this house had all those characteristics.
Here I fell in love with Pure Luck, finished seminary, became a pastor, and made a life with my children that includes not just cats, but dogs, too! I've listened to my children playing the piano and the clarinet, singing and joking, watched them leave for many first days of school and move off into the world. I've waved to Pure Luck as he goes off to work and rejoiced at his return. It has been a secure base for all of us. I guess this has been my favorite home of all.