July 30, 2012 | Jeanette Trompeter
I’ve been thinking about that word a lot lately. For a lot of reasons.
I started rubyshoeswine.com last month all based on the idea of introducing other regions of the country to the place I call home today. In the process I visited my old homes, friends, memories, and roots in other places as well. And while I was in Minneapolis, Minnesota, I attended a wedding where the bride and groom found that their home is wherever the other is. The kind of connection we all crave to find with someone in life. So I’ve really been thinking about that word. Home, and all the emotional triggers that comes with it.
Even Merriam Webster seems to have trouble zeroing in on an easy definition. It defines home as: a place of residence, social unit formed by a family living together, a familiar or usual setting, a congenial environment, a place or origin, an establishment providing residents and care for people with special needs, and a little white object in a big field we like to call home plate in baseball.
It goes on to say describe home as: relaxed and comfortable. In harmony with the surroundings, or on familiar ground. Now we're getting somewhere. That's how I felt returning to Iowa and Minnesota. Familiar ground. Comfortable. So unlike how it did when I left my original home some 16 or 17 years ago to chase a career. I was scared, unaccustomed to anything other than California, and experienced the pain of knowing every person I would come into contact with for a quite a while was a complete stranger. But never again, not in those two places.
I know how time and distance can take a toll of friendships and familiarities. But I learned when you really call a place home long enough, it just is. And to a certain degree, forever. I have been remiss in keeping up with friends in Iowa and Minnesota over the last couple of years as I found my new footing in my original home of San Luis Obispo County. But when I placed a call to a couple of friends there saying I was coming to town, there were no comments of "Oh we haven't heard from you in awhile" or "Where have you been"? It was "When?!" and "You are staying here, right?" and when I explained I was coming to launch a new side business I had started it was "Can we throw a party for you?"
By the time I arrived, I had a full calendar of people eager to reconnect, and when I arrived into both Des Moines and Minneapolis, I felt a familiar warmth and connection to so many memories that felt so good and comfortable.
I hate how time flies. I hate goodbyes. I hate how life changes so dramatically sometimes too quickly. I am uncomfortable with letting go sometimes, and realizing that life as you know it in one instant, will soon become part of your past, your memories. But I remember something my dad said to me about sports back in high-school. It had to do with reaching certain goals, I think probably breaking a six minute mile for the first time in track. He said "When you reach a certain goal like that, no one can ever take it away from you. It remains forever." I'm realizing that's kind of how home is. When you make a certain level of connection with a place, and the people who live around you and love you, it's always there. Forever. No one, or no circumstances or geography can take it away from you.
It's a constant wonderful discovery for me as I now am back in the place where I grew up. But I was happy wherever I was planted along my journey away for many years. For sure I feel pretty blessed to have ended up right where I started, but so very lucky to be able to call a few places "home". Forever.
Home, I think, is when you’re lucky enough, in any given moment, to find yourself where you belong. And I've been pretty damned lucky.