I can’t say for certain, because I am not actually at the end of my life, but I think that when we’re at the end of our lives, we’ll be a conglomeration of all the places we’ve lived and all the people we’ve known.
People and places and milestones become tied together in the timeline of our lives. Often changes and milestones are associated with leaving people and places and encountering new ones. And for most of these changes, it’s hard to determine whether they’re good or bad. Even if what you’re gaining is positive, you’re also losing something significant in the process.
I love Alfred, NY. Honestly, it’s utopic. The weather sucks and there’s nothing to do, but sometimes a cool July and peace/quiet are everything you need.
I came home this weekend for the senior art shows and because I miss my brother and my puppy every day. And because I need to regroup and get back on my feet. Sometimes home is really the only place you can do that. It’s so safe here. Everything is familiar and comforting so the only thing you have to deal with is whatever you’re dealing with and at that point, you can begin to sort things out. I kind of blogged about this briefly last summer (http://bettermakeitfast.blogspot.com/2009/07/sound-of-door-opening-and-slamming.html).
There are so many quotes about how home is wherever you’re most comfortable or that it’s the people that make home what it is and it has nothing to do with the place.
I think it has everything to do with the place. I am SO attached to these 1.5 acres that the thought of having to let all this go and not have this house to come back to feels catastrophic. Of course, the people make the memories, but it’s the house that the memories were made in and it’s the house that’s always here.
Last night my mom and dad said they were putting the house up for sale. They’re making career changes, we’ve all moved on past the highschool stage in our lives, and if someone wants to buy the house, it makes sense for them to sell it while they can.
I’m calm here. I grew up here. There are so many memories that you associate with a place when it’s been your home for 15 years. My siblings and I probably know the woods behind our house better than anyone would ever care to. We’ve played with three dogs and countless kids in the yard. We’ve had summer adventures and winter adventures and outdoor adventures and indoor adventures and countless Christmases and birthdays and victories and tragedies. This room has been MY room for 15 years. Our parents built this house for us. We saw it grow from being a hole in the ground to being a well worn-in home in need of fresh paint, new carpeting, and a working oven in the kitchen. For a few years now, we’ve had to cook the Christmas turkey on the old stove that sits in the laundry room because my parents haven’t felt that their budget allows for a new one for the kitchen. Things like that happen when you try to put three kids through college at once.
My room is at the back of the house, on a corner. There are three windows. I have a 180 degree view of peace. My sister and I used to share this room. I remember what it looked like with our twin beds side by side and then how it looked with the bunk beds and then how it looked with my double bed and now I’m back to the twin bed I started with since I took the double bed to my first and second apartments.
I love its state of disarray. My bedrooms will likely always be in that state until I get married and have reason to keep it maintained. I’m clean, but my bedroom is where I leave all order and reason at the door and crash in the world of chaos and relaxation. This room, in particular, has always been my safe place. And my chaotic place.
But I know that this house and the 1.5 acres that it sits on was made for kids. And the family that’s potentially going to buy it has four of them. They’ll form their own memories and do their own growing up here. If we have to sell it, if I can’t have this place to retreat to forever, then I want to be able to pass it along to someone who will have the opportunity to know it and love it like I did. I hope they uncover our path in the woods that’s lined with rocks that leads to the fort. And I hope they climb up the climbing tree. And I hope they send messages up and down the laundry chute. And I hope they build mud castles along the ditch. And I hope their parents plant apple trees in what was supposed to be our little apple orchard that never panned out. I think only one tree is left.
I’ve been very happy in Pittsburgh and I will be very happy in all the places I go to in my future, but Alfred will always be where I felt the safest (not necessarily the happiest, but the safest) and this house is a huge part of that.
My parents are going to retire to my mom’s family farm in their hometown of Punxsutawney. Western PA is where all the extended family is, for the most part, and that’s where they did most of their growing up.
There’s no family here in WNY. This house and this land will leave the family. I don’t get to have the same opportunity they do. Most people don’t have that. Once your childhood home is gone, it’s gone. And that’s just how it is. But I think that for the rest of my life, part of me will always wish that I could come back.
I’m a rambly blogger. I apologize. Maybe sometime soon I’ll just blog about why Alfred, as a town/community, is awesome. If it was a vacation destination, I’d be its best champion.