This month’s Nablopomo theme is “home”. So when I started thinking about what home meant to me, I realized that I was very lucky, and have had a lot of “homes”. The funny thing about it is, many of them were places that I had no ownership of at all. I thought I would start off this month’s theme talking about the places that I love, loved, and have called home.
Home is not a house, it’s a sense of being. A place that provides love, comfort, acceptance, endurance, fortification and a few laughs thrown in for good measure. 304 Caroline was just one of those homes.
Though I could never claim ownership of 304, it was definitely home. It was a place that always held a bedroom for me, literally called “Suzy’s Room”, with a tiny pillow resting on the bed that proclaimed “princess sleeps here”. For there, I was always someone’s princess. Whether a planned visit, or an impromptu call from a block away with a simple “whattayadoin?” I was always welcome. There was always my fridge filled with beer,(in a house with 3 kitchens, my own fridge apparently went with my own room 🙂 ) hugs all around, and not a lot of questions asked. There was always a carafe of coffee waiting in the morning, whether the true owners of the home had arisen for the day or not. Coffee I would take down to the huge front porch, and sit in reflection and peace as I watched the town wake up, with nods and greetings from familiar faces. That porch held many of our secrets, our hopes, our dreams. It was on that porch that we discussed world news, local gossip, the spot where I told my dear friend that she had lost her son.
It was where we loved, we lost, we laughed and we cried. In the ballroom I could dance like a child, with unbridled freedom, becoming lost in the twirling and imagining I was at a fancy dress ball at the turn of the century, while trying to find some solitude and meaning to my own confused life. I would sit as B plucked a tune on the baldwin…another important baldwin in my life, allowing each note to pluck at my heartstrings, drawing me into that warm cocoon of love and acceptance.
It was a home of friendship. A home of love and comfort. Of magnolia trees and statues of angels. Of impromptu vocal concerts from J and G, as they harmonized “night and day” just to make me cry. A mere hop skip and a jump from the train station. Trains that would blow through at all hours of the day and night, their sounds promising excitement and adventure for those traveling upon those steel wheels. It’s where I first viewed the Tropicana Juice Train. A much bigger deal for me than for most, I’m sure. It was where we sat at the table and drank coffee until it was time to start drinking, sometimes taking up the entire day. It was bloody mary’s, jack and cokes, margaritas and Magical Suzy Juice. It was breakfasts of grits, lunches of crackers, and dinners of whatever we could pull together while laughing until we cried. It was late night conversations, early morning walks, and long afternoons just being. It was the ending of one life, and the beginning of another. It was acceptance. It was home.
My dear J on the infamous porch