This evening I turned in the keys to my apartment, having cleared it out and boxed up most of the small amount of stuff I have remaining. I am grateful to Charlie, who helped me schlep boxes.
The act of moving prompts thoughts of homes past and future.
The first real home of which I was conscious was the house on Little Brower Lake. We moved in with Ed after my mom divorced; I was in kindergarten at the time. We lived there about two years, until we bought a house on Lincoln Avenue in rural northwest Grand Rapids. We lived _there_ perhaps four years, until we built the Marne house, about a mile down the road on Lincoln. That house was “home” — I lived there from the fourth grade until well into my college years. Despite a stint in the dorms in Kalamazoo, I lived most of my life in the Marne house, just 500 feet away from my grandparents, with whom I was close.
When mom sold the house in the spring of 2003, I moved to my first apartment at Kellogg Cove in Kentwood. For the first couple of years, it was fabulous — quiet, clean, conveniently located near the Gaines Township shopping area and US-131. I lived there more than four years. Although the last year or so sucked — I had loud upstairs neighbors who were up all night — I do miss that place. It felt comfortable. I lost weight there, started karate there, and experienced other life milestones there.
After that, I spent a year and a half at my moms condo, until it sold last spring, and we moved into Apple Ridge.
I have no complaints about Apple Ridge. It was a decent place, clean and quiet. But it wasn’t my first choice. It never felt like home.
As I prepare for my next housing transition (four to six weeks here, then off to better things), it occurred to me that the “where” of a home is less important than how the place feels. Who is there with you? Who is in your life? Is “home” a place of comfort and joy and familiarity?
Domiciles come and go but homes are rarer things, a mix of person and place and time and space. Treasure them while you have them.