Years ago I remember my friend, Mark, telling me, "Home is where the Mommy is." Mark's parents moved a lot in his early years and he did not grow attached to a particular place until his parents settled in Lee's Summit, MO, in his early teen years.
By comparison, I only ever knew one home. My parents bought the house in the late forties, long before I was born, and my mother lived in it until her death. I lived there until I was 17 and went away to college. The house still stands, and I drive by it to go to Jackie and Mary Ann's, but it is not in the family anymore. And, although it's bittersweet, it pains me less than I expected it to.
Jackie and Mary Ann's house has become "home" now. They made it clear to me after Mama died that I would always have a place there and I was grateful for it.
My friend, Jocelyn, once said that she always thinks of Hutchinson as home although she only lived there until she was 13. But it's where her family is and it's where she spent her early formative years, so it's home. That's how Ballard County, Kentucky is ot me. It's home and always will be, even though I own a home a few states away.
It's curious how we think about home and houses and what that means. I love my house (the one I own) and it is home to me, not in the same way that Kentucky is home. Kentcuky is an emotional home, I guess.
Mattie and Jim just bought a house in LaCenter. That's the town where Mattie grew up and of course it's the county where Jim grew up, too. They have lived in multiple places and I'm betting they have much the same feeling that Mark does - home is where the people you care about are.
One of the things I love about Mattie and Jim's house is the front porch. It's great to sit out there and watch the world go by. That feels like home no matter where you do it.