Nothing like a few days of warm weather to bring on those thoughts of home. The 1950s were just a great time to be a kid.
There are several definitions of “home” in the dictionary. The one I think is most often used is (noun): A place one lives permanently, as a member of a family or household.
There are many seniors who still live in the town they were born in. Some may even live in the same house. I think we can all agree that there truly is no place like home.
If you were raised in a military family, you may have lived in many different places growing up. Some you called home and some were just duty stations. It may have depended on how long you were there. It must have been hard for kids moving around so much, going to a lot of different schools, and saying goodbye to so many friends.
Your dad might have had some other job that caused the family to move around a lot. Always leaving you to promise those friends on the block that you would write or call them, but it never happened. Funny how we had the school friends and the after school friends. The after school friends were the kids on the block or around the corner. School friends were sometimes just friends at school. We didn't even know where they lived.
Maybe it was the smell of your mom's beans and rice cooking on the stove as you came up the walk from school. Or your dog who would hear the sound of your shoes getting near and couldn't get to you fast enough. Maybe it was just knowing that someone who loved you was waiting for you.
Having spent the first 40 years in sunny San Diego, it is hard for some people to imagine leaving that beautiful city. A place with great weather, lots of places to go and see, and also one of the best public transportation systems around. No hurricanes, tornadoes, or any of that. So, why then would anyone leave?
I can't speak for others but only for myself. Once my parents were no longer alive, it seemed to change everything. That feeling of home no longer existed. My kids were already on their own, and I suddenly found myself wanting to live somewhere else. Little did I know, I was only looking for a place to bring back those feelings of home that were now gone. I actually moved to several states over the next 20 years. I schlepped my poor basset hounds to three different states. Each time, I told myself, "I am done moving now."
Even when my son took me to my old neighborhood for a visit once. We parked in front of the old house, and I saw how tiny it really was. There were six of us living in it then, and of course, only one bathroom. How did we manage? As I walked through the neighborhood with my son, I soon found myself at the home of my then best friend, Dianna. The big tree was still standing in the front yard. The one we would swing from the branches. I remembered so well the day they loaded up the truck and she moved away. By the time we left that neighborhood I was so sad, I vowed to never go back there again. Of course, my son felt just awful, as he thought it would be such a happy time for me. I did, too. But instead it only reminded me of all the people who were now gone from my life.
I remember how many times I would hear Dad telling Mom, "You know, I would really like to visit the old neighborhood in Chicago. Just stand outside Wrigley field one more time and listen to the ball game from outside the fence like when I was a kid." (He never had the money for a ticket.) Mom would always remind him that the "old neighborhood" was not the same and wasn't even safe anymore. I felt bad for him. It always seemed so important.
I think that home is actually not a place at all, but rather a feeling that you carry in your heart. We have all heard that saying "Home is where the heart is" and may even have a wall hanging that reflects those words. We may search for years to find that feeling of home that we had as children. But, once your parents are gone, you may never find it again. It took me a very long time to realize and accept that.
Kingman will never be the same as home used to be. But having family around, sunshine and nice people will certainly do for now. Maybe I was destined to call Kingman my home all along, but just had to wait for the right time. For now, I just can't imagine waking up anywhere else.
Although, at this point, I should be glad to just keep waking up!