Saturday, June 14, 2008


Home means something different to each of us. It can be the place where we first felt secure or where we put down roots. It can be the place your family comes from, maybe even a place you've never visited. It might be the first place you ever made completely yours--your first apartment, your first house. Or maybe it's a place you're still searching for.

I've moved around so much that I think for me, home is a feeling I carry inside of myself. It means the place where I am surrounded by the people and things I love, where I can dream my deepest dreams.

Writing Prompt: When you think of home, what do you think of? Is home a particular house you've lived in? Or is it a place, or maybe a person? Perhaps it is a flavor or a smell. What piece of home do you carry with you?


Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Dear Jazz,
This prompt makes me cry. When I think of home, it's my family's house that my parent's owned for 50 plus years. Almost three years ago, my mother fell in her bathroom, and had to move into an assisted living facility because the house had stairs everywhere. There were 14 stairs to walk into the house, two more at the door, and since it was a two-story house, a bunch more inside. There were even two stairs from the living room to the hallway.

When my mom died in October, for the first time in my life, I began thinking of our house (my husband's, son's, and mine) as home. We've owned it for 30 years, but I guess it wasn't my true home until we sold my mom's.


Jazz said...

I find it fascinating that for so many people home is not the place they live now.

When I think of home, it's lots of different mother's kitchen in the house where I grew up, the apartment my husband and I shared in Ames, Iowa--I loved that apartment! Our house that we've been in now for nearly ten years is my physical home...but I'm still not sure it's found its place as the home of my heart. I think that little apartment in Ames might still hold that spot...things were really tight financially, we didn't have two nickels to rub together, but we were really happy there (I suppose those would be our golden years, eh?)

My parents moved out of the house I grew up in a few years ago. It was a good move for them--the garden was far too much for them to manage, what with all the oak trees and the raking and the flower gardens my Mum had planted over the years...and I always thought I'd be really upset if they sold that house...but when the time came, it really didn't seem that important.

Maybe my lost little-girl self is still trying to figure out where home is, eh?

Coco said...

This topic brings tears to my eyes too. Mostly from thinking of yours and Susans feelings on the subject. I can't seem to get to my own feelings on the subject. Maybe if I just start writing.

Susan, that must have been so hard to sell your mother's house. Time and aging and the whole generation to generation thing.... so sad sometimes!

Jazz, that is really neat that you didn't mourn the sale of your parents' house. I'm just happy your little girl self didn't feel the impact from it.

Jazz said...

I think part of the reason it didn't hit me more was that although I lived there for 17 years (from ages 5 to 22), the periods before and after that encompassed so many moves (hubby and I moved 10 times in the first 8 years we were together!) that I just don't make a strong connection with places anymore. I am connected to people and to experiences (the sense of security I get in my husband's arms, the calming effects of my favorite tea, the smell of my mother's perfume, or her gingerbread baking) more than I have ever been connected to a place or a building.

Perhaps, in time, I shall feel a deep connection to our present house. We designed and built it ourselves, we've been here nearly ten years...I ought to feel something...but quite honestly, if we had to relocated, I'd be more upset about the work that packing the place up would require than I would about leaving it. It's just a house. The walls are still builder's white (my idea of decorating doesn't go much beyond having enough bookshelves).

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Dear Jazz,
What lovely responses to my comment and Coco's. I think it's wonderful to be tied to people rather than to places.

As I may have written on my blog (or maybe yours), I live in the same neighborhood in which I grew up. I've often thought that one of the reasons this is so comforting for me is because since I had my first depressive episode at 18 (when I was living away from home), and it lasted so long without any diagnosis or help, my saving grace was my parents, my grandparents (who were still alive then), and the community in which I'm so comfortable.

Although I've traveled throughout the world--it was all before my diagnosis and medication. Now that I'm well--really well--for the first time in 20 years, I'm really excited about the thought of traveling again.

I know all this has to do with wellness, but your post has made me think about it. Thanks.

P.S. The good news is that since my husband is retired (and I'm semi-retired; I still have great plans for writing more books), I have the freedom to travel.

Jazz said...

I think it's great that you have such a strong tie to place, and that you still live in the neighborhood where you grew up. That place must hold so many memories for you. I can't imagine what it must be like to walk down the same streets you played in once...the neighborhood I grew up in has become rather unsavory, and all the people I knew there are gone now. I think, perhaps, if we had stayed in England I might have had that sense...when my parents went back there a few years ago, some of the neighbors they had when I was first born are still living in the same homes.

It's great that you are feeling well enough to be excited about travel again! I think that was one of the truly horrible things about being so overmedicated--I had no sense of wonder or excitement about the future any sense of the future was that it was a numb, cold place the color of ash.

There are colors and movement and energy in my vision of the future now!

Gianna said... home is the Bay Area...I never felt connected to the home I grew up in. My family was horribly dysfunctional and the town I grew up in extremely conservative.

So I didn't feel like I was really at home until I moved to Berkeley to go to school when I was 18. Then I moved around the Bay Area alot...about 10 times within Berkeley, three times to Oakland, twice to SF and then when I was married I lived in a couple of places, but Marin was where I was before I moved to NC and I love it there too.

So home is Berkeley, Oakland, San Francisco, and San Rafael. I loved all those places with a passion. (I did live in a couple of towns in the Bay Area I DID not like and did not mention them)

After friends and my mom, I miss food more than anything. I'm a foodie, my husband considers me a snob. SF and the surrounding area has some of the most awesome food on the planet..and I've done a lot of traveling. There are certainly places like New Yore, and even LA that have lots of wonderful food, but they weren't my home.

Here in NC the food sucks. Badly. I'm always disappointed when we go out...still 6 years in.

anyway...I miss CA a lot...but not where I grew up...instead where I spent my formative adult years.

(Susan---I lived in LA one year!)

Gianna said...

oh..and I have to say...there is a palpable energy in the air in the Bay Area...I feel it every time I's electric and it feels like HOME.

Never felt it anywhere else...

I guess it's love that I feel for's very intense.

Jazz said...

That's pretty neat, too, to feel rooted to a whole area. I guess I felt something like that when we moved to Washington. We lived in Richland, which is in the southeastern corner, and is pretty desert-like. I missed the trees of Minnesota terribly, and felt awfully homesick while we were there. When we were in Iowa, that felt like home, but Washington never did. One of the happiest days of my life was coming home to Minnesota.

There weren't any decent restaurants in Richland or Ames, either, though there are quite a few in the Twin Cities area.

Annie said...

Jazz, thanks for this post. It helped me think about the question of home.I suppose I share the idea of home being inside while I search for another image of home.I moved back to Oklahoma from Minnesota when my partner died last year and so I feel displaced. Home? Great post! Annie

Jazz said...

I'm glad it helped you. I think it's important for all of us to be able to identify home with something and to have an awareness of what that something is. It's something to go back to when you need that feeling of comfort and security...even if it's a place you can only go in memory. I find it very grounding to have a sense of what "home" means for me.

And it's funny, but that "home" concept has changed over the years. Back when I was in that apartment I loved in Iowa, I think I still considered my parents' house in Minnesota to be home. It wasn't until later, in retrospect, when I realized how good those times were, that's when that apartment took on the mantle of "home" in my mind. We hadn't moved so much at that point, so "home" to me was still a fixed place that I could always go back to.

Jazz said...

Thank you all so much for your insightful responses to this post!

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

I, too, find it so satisfying that your post generated such an interesting discussion. To me, that is just the very best of what blogging is all about.


Aqua said...

I just found your! You have incredible ideas for writing.

This post is hard for me because until 2.5 years ago "home" was wherever my Mom was...even though I am married and live in a different city. She made her place home. It was always a haven, safe, comforting, reassuring, relaxing and full of intense love and compassion.

I have moved so many times in my life (more than 20 plus times, and lived literally from one end of Canada (Newfoundland) to the other (Vancouver Island). So home has always been a changing, mutable place, but it always included Mom and her love. I feel so close to homelessness now that she is gone, like being left with nowhere to live could happen anytime. It's a scary feeling. When Mom was alive I always had somewhere to go.

Jazz said...

Welcome, and thanks for stopping by!

I can certainly understand your feelings of homelessness. When you have a close relationship with your parent(s), it seems like there is always a sort of a "safety net" know, even though I'm in my forties and have a husband and two kids who are nearly teens, there's still that sense of safety--because if disaster ever happened and we lost our house or had nowhere to go for whatever reason, I know they would take us in.

*hugs* to you, Aqua, and I hope you are able to start putting down some roots right where you are, even they are mostly inside of yourself, like mine are.