Home means something different for us all. In a shallow sense, it can simply mean where you lay your head each night, the place you are right this moment.
But that’s not what I’ve been thinking about recently, what I was struck by when this song came on an Amazon station when my husband and I had the girl child on Saturday. She is a fan of country music. I don’t listen to it often, not the newer stuff anyway. I wasn’t really paying attention, I had my nose in an e-book while we were on our way to take her back to her mother when this came on:
So far behind am I in the world of country music, I thought it had to be a new song. Nope, it’s apparently 8 years old.
I thought if I could touch this place or feel it
This brokenness inside me might start healing
Out here it’s like I’m someone else
I thought that maybe I could find myself
If I could just come in I swear I’ll leave
Won’t take nothing but a memory
From the house that built me
And the tears just rolled down my cheeks. Mostly, because I can’t do that. The house that I will always consider “home”, the one that “built me”, no longer exists.
When my grandfather passed away, he had set up a trust where the farmhouse and 100 acres of land had to be sold together, as he had put it in the Nature Conservancy. He didn’t want it to be sold off in parcels and turned into a housing development. Which is exactly what two of his children would have done, they are money hungry.
None of us could afford to buy out the others, so we had to sell. The Nature Conservancy allows for 2 private homes to be built on the property. Two families, who were friends with each other, purchased the property. They decided to demolish the farmhouse and build their own house on the property and turn the barn/horse arena area into a country club type setting.
The original plan was that our family would still be allowed to visit the farm/gardens whenever we’d like, with notice of course. They had a huge gala upon finishing the country club stables and building their home and my brother was invited, since he still lived on the road.
Well, he managed to fuck it all up for the rest of us. He’s good at that.
The story he tells is, one of the guys and a friend were making conversation about how our family had fallen so far, unable to take care of our family heritage, and had to sell. My brother was drunk. In his infinite wisdom, he decided to use his fists to reply to a conversation he was not even involved in. He knocked the guy out, in his own home.
None of us are welcome there at all now. And knowing my brother, I doubt that’s how the conversation went at all. Those people had no knowledge of our family’s business whatsoever. As far as they knew, we had just decided to sell the property, period, since there were so many owners. It would have been almost impossible to come up with a plan that that many people could have agreed upon. Who would have lived there? Who would have maintained it?
My brother is an asshole and an idiot.
Theyland Farm is not my childhood home, per se, but it may as well be. The house where I grew up is about half a mile down the road. When things got especially bad in my house, I would get on my little pink bike and pedal down the road to my grandparents farm. Some of the only good memories I have from childhood stem from that farm. Most of them include my grandparents, as well as riding the horses there. Yes, that’s little Chloe in one of the photos up there, getting a pony for Christmas. His name was Clancy.
There was a persimmon tree in the backyard that was my grandmother’s. She and I were the only ones who liked the fruit, and we would eat them until I could no longer feel my tongue. I still love them, though I wish they weren’t $3 each at the grocery.
You leave home and you move on and you do the best you can
I got lost in this old world and forgot who I am
I’ve lived in many places in the 40 years I’ve been on this earth. Some beautiful places, physically, some, not so much. The one thing that has never changed, no matter where I’ve roamed, the common denominator, is me.
I have forgotten who I am, more times than I care to count. I have allowed the things that have happened to me, around me, beside me even, to change the way I perceive the world, to change the way I even perceive myself. I have gotten lost within myself. I have gotten lost in self-pity.
But the one thing I could always count on, until my grandfather passed away, was being able to go home and re-center myself. No matter what else was going on in my life, I could, regardless of how the old saying went, always go home again.
I’ll admit, it’s corny in a sense, but it saddens me even as an older woman to know that I don’t have that any longer.
But what I do have now is my own home, for the first time in my adult life. A home that is my own, not a rental, not mortgaged to the hilt. It isn’t much, but it is mine. It is the legacy that my grandparents left me, essentially. With what proceeds were mine from the sale of the farm all those years ago, I was able to purchase a small piece of land and a little place of my own, out right.
I’ve worked hard to keep taxes paid on it each year, to slowly remodel it bit by bit when we can, to make it a place that my children and others who visit will feel at home in. Because when it comes down to it, it wasn’t how big the house was, or even what was in it that made my grandparents farm home. It was the feeling of it. That everyone was welcome.
And the memories made there that have lasted a lifetime.