But, there are other homes that helped to "build me", including that of my maternal grandparents, Leland and Gladys Norris. A few days ago, I drove past their old home, which has yet again been renovated with several large rooms added. My grandmother wouldn't even recognize the place. I thought about all the times I spent there; drinking ice cold 12 oz. bottles of Coca-Cola, eating cookies out of the ceramic cookie jar, pretending to be a singer while using a part of my grandpa's bed as my microphone, imagining the glass doorknobs were diamonds. My mother has told me stories of how she roller skated in the basement and how her father raised a field of dahlias and sold them during the depression. Stories not unlike those that everyone shares. Since my grandmother's death, that house has been owned by several different families. They have remodeled the house, made it bigger and increased it's worth and then moved on. They created their own memories during the periods of time in which they lived there. But, they couldn't possibly appreciate the rich history of the place; how the land had belonged to my great great grandfather, Henry Routsong in the 1840's before it was passed down to his daughter, Libby, and then to my grandfather, Leland. How Leland and Gladys had raised 6 children in that house with 3 bedrooms and only 1 bathroom. They couldn't have known how our large family held picnics every Labor Day, playing croquet in the side yard and making ice cream on the patio.
Driving by the house is very bittersweet. How I long to climb into the old wooden swing on the apple tree again; the one that Grandpa tied onto a branch that would swing and sway along with me. What I wouldn't give to sit on that back porch again and just listen to the conversations that were boring to a 10 year old, but priceless to the 50 year old me.
As I sit at my computer, in the little dining room of my home of almost 31 years, I realize that someday, this house will no longer be my home. My children will all have established homes of their own and created their own memories. I hope that somewhere within these walls, our voices and our laughter may still echo, and that the tears will fade away. I pray that this house will be a sweet home to whomever it may shelter.
And now, I gaze around my humble home, with it's remaining holiday disarray and I am reminded of one final poem, "A house is made of brick and stone, but a home is made of love alone" (author unknown). Think of how different the world would be if everyone could have the shelter of a "Home Sweet Home".