Home sweet home

by Debbie Carini


The author Thomas Wolfe wrote an entire book entitled, You Can’t Go Home Again, which you would think parents would pay extra for to be required reading of all college seniors—even if they just looked at (and took to heart) the title.

But there’s something sentimental about home, even just the physical structure, for most folks.

There are the creaky stairs that always signal you are in the house (maybe past curfew and in trouble); and there’s the door leading to the garage that swells-up in rainy or hot weather, and to open it, you pretend to be a cop on Law and Order, shouting, “This is a bust!” while your kids roll their eyes and say “Mom, just take us to school.”

For a while, before we remodeled it, the kitchen had its original ice box, with a metal-lined space at the bottom to hold the refrigeration method of the early 20th Century—an ice block—and slatted shelves through which gravy packets and other narrow items would fall.

When we first purchased the house, the only full bathroom featured an outdoor light fixture that cast a yellowish pall across one’s reflection in the mirror. Many days, I was tempted to call into work, “I can’t come, I think I have jaundice!”

But over the years, we’ve made the house our home—there’s a lot of green inside (our favorite color), and smooth-gliding shelves in the kitchen closets, which makes it much easier for me to see that I have saved far too many 32-oz. Greek yogurt containers (a quick search for craft ideas, after some painful self-reflection—“Am I a hoarder, or just a frugal accumulator?”—turns up innumerable pencil holder and planter possibilities I hope I didn’t just give away what everyone is getting for Christmas.

Before my now 20-year tenure in this “French Provincial” two-story cottage, my longest stretch at any piece of real estate was five years. I never got attached to any previous residence because I never had much of a chance to see a sapling mature to a full-grown tree or a wooden floor age with the dings of dropped dishes and knocked-over irons.

We’ve recently started thinking about moving to smaller digs, or spending a portion of the year in another part of the country. We both enjoy virtual offices, making it possible for us to work anytime and from anywhere.

We’ve even started to explore the real estate market, venturing to open houses in interesting places where our main concern is “how close are we to an airport?” It feels a little like cheating on the home we live in now—a home filled with the memories of our family’s most important milestones such as the beautiful curved arch on the staircase that our daughter flipped through one Christmas morning, resulting in a buckle-fracture to her wrist.

They say, “home is where the heart is” and I know that’s true. This old house of ours has given our hearts plenty to be gladdened with. But maybe it’s time to let another family experience its nooks and crannies. And maybe it’s time for another mother to find her son’s head stuck between the wrought iron balustrades. Yes, the darn stairs again!


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