This is my morning-sun-lit view outside my livingroom window. This room and the garage below was added to the house in the early 1970's by the second owners. . . .
This leads me to think about the houses I've lived in--16 different houses in the 18 years I lived with my parents. Since I've been married (which is 46 years now) I've lived in three different houses. We moved to this house 34 years ago this month when our first child was 2. I wanted a place I could raise my children that would provide the same kind of memories I had of my grandparents' farm along a gravel road in southwest Mississippi. We chose this one because when we drove up the then-gravel driveway, saw the pine trees (which are mostly gone now) and the more than 2 acres of land it reminded me very much of my Mamaw and Papaw's place. Not the house itself, for theirs sat up on brick columns, had a tin roof, and never a lick of paint inside or out! Plus, theirs had an outhouse, no hot running water, and no central heating. But it did have a front porch like my grandparents', albeit with no roof. The porch was just a slab of concrete when we bought the house. After about 8 years I saw a porch swing marked down tremendously at K-Mart so I bought it, saying one day I'd have a porch roof to hang it from. And I did. Less than two years later when we had unexpected income that allowed us to do some remodeling on the house. Over the years we've put in gardens with an arbor and a picket fence, paved the driveway, added air conditioning, painted, moved walls and doors, added windows, and updated the bathrooms and kitchen.
I love books that make the house one of the "characters" in the story. And whenever I see a falling-down house on a drive through the countryside I feel a particular sadness about it. Who used to live there? What was their life like? I realize my sadness is because the house looks so unloved now. This house has become my new homestead--the one I never had except for the times I visited my grandparents. It has always been my hope that my boys would think fondly of their childhood home and visit often or perhaps even live here after we're gone, but none of them have expressed interest in doing so. I waver between wanting to move someplace more suitable to our stage in life and wanting to preserve it for my boys--until I remember they're not all that interested.
I finally had the question settled for me a few weeks ago when I was going through another bookshelf to dispose of unwanted books and came across Dee Hardee's Views From Thornhill. I'd picked it up years ago at a used book sale because Thornhill is in northeast Maryland and I figured I'd read it one day. It turned out to be a collection of newspaper and magazine articles she wrote during the 1960's through 1987. I found it to be quite dated so I skimmed looking for the times she wrote about the house they called Thornhill. I was rewarded with this quote: "I once thought Thornhill was for my children. When I was a child we hopscotched around from town to city since my father worked for a large company. I wanted something more for my four children. One continuous house. We've had that, but in writing the book (she's referring to her first book, Hollyhocks, Lambs and Other Passions) I realized that perhaps it was I who needed the childhood house. A nest forever and ever."
There it was! Dee's quote made all the difference. This is my forever and ever nest!
So, my questions to you this month are, "Does a particular house hold a particular significance for you? Or are houses just some place to live?" Please tell me as much as you want about the house that means the most to you. You know I love those kinds of stories!
Here is the music video by Miranda Lambert that goes with the song you've been listening to:
Now, what you've all been waiting for........the names of the winners of my Susan Branch book giveaway! Drum roll please. . . .
Christmas From The Heart of The Home: Michelle Palmer
Heart of the Home - Notes From a Vineyard Kitchen: Lily's Mom (Pat)
Girlfriends Forever: Janet Miller
Congratulations ladies! Please send me your mailing address and I'll get your book on its way. My e-mail address can be found on my Profile (see side bar).
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