Saturday, June 28, 2014

Home Sweet Home?

This just in! ...
Kim over at Snug Harbor Bay is the winner of my first (but certainly not last!) giveaway for the wee vintage spice bottles.    Won't you please send me your preferred mailing address?  Thank you for playing along! 
.... we now return to our regularly-scheduled surfing! :)

"Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again."
... Just a guess, but I think most folks immediately 'get' the origin of that line.   (And if you're anything like me, it's accompanied by a delicious little chill.)

Once upon a time, I possessed an ability to easily memorize most any passage or musical score.   But these days -- aside from Ms. du Maurier's opening paragraph or "The Wreck of the Hesperus" -- I'm dependent on prompts and lists.  Lots of lists. 

Recently I was delighted to learn I'd won Linda O'Connell's giveaway -- an autographed copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul's "Home Sweet Home."   
I love the Chicken Soup series, and was especially eager to make this book my friend.    Not just because Linda is one of its authors("contributors" sounds way too inadequate, don't you agree?).  
No, I'm intrigued by others' definition of 'home.'

Ours is an OK house .... a nice, average house for average folk.   I'm just not 'in love' with it.
10 years later, it still doesn't feel much like 'home.'
The decision to build in the far west valley was probably a result of our looking at far too many homes, far too long.   My mother's health was rapidly deteriorating, time was at a premium -- and I just wanted to step off the carousel.     Even during our final walk-through, I had reservations.  Still, I kept my mouth shut.  
Perhaps what I was looking for didn't even exist ... at least not in our pay scale.

Only when I first heard Miranda Lambert's "The House That Built Me" -- and subsequently burst into tears -- did all the pieces start falling in place.   

I first met 'the house that built me' in my mid-20's.  It sits amongst other middle-of-the-road, working-class dwellings in west Texas, looking much the way I remember.   (Love Google!) 
I sincerely hope its current residents replaced the burnt orange, high-low carpet and avocado appliances.   I hope they love it ... the way in which I forgot to do.  

Once upon a time, I couldn't wait to leave that place and that town behind.
However - like the first line of "Rebecca" - for a few years now I've dreamt of going back.   

"If I could walk around, I swear I'll leave.
Won't take nothing but a memory,

from the house that built me." 
- Miranda Lambert

It's probably a safe bet, I'll never act on that impulse and knock on that door.  But it doesn't cost anything to fantasize.  

What would you do?
Where is your very own "House That Built Me"? ... or, is it still waiting to meet you?

Thank you for listening!

...and hugs from Phoenix,



  1. That's a great song. We love Miranda Lambert.

    My house that built me is in Chicago and once every few years I slowly drive past it and remember. 3 families that I grew up with still live on that block. It was a great block and a fabulous house. We too had the orange/avocado motif and the burnt orange shag carpeting. I don't think I'd like to see the inside of that house now because I think I'd hate it. My dad had lovingly remodeled every room in that house and I'd cry to see what the subsequent owners have done to MY house.

    Thanks for a great post.

  2. A very thought-provoking post, with a lot that I can relate to.
    I don't think I've ever had a house that built me - and probably never will. I've simply tolerated most of the houses that I've lived in.

    I actually believe that environment has a lot more to do with happiness than the house itself. If you love your surroundings - the town, the neighborhood, the state that you live in - you will undoubtedly love your home. I despise Texas. I'm not happy here, even though I live in a nice home.

    I smiled when I read "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again". It conjured some ancient memories. When I was in seventh grade I wrote an essay for my English class, in which I used the word "dreamt". My teacher became enraged and berated me in front of the entire class, saying that there's no such word as "dreamt".
    Unfortunately, at the time I hadn't yet read "Rebecca".

    1. I forgot to mention that I love Miranda Lambert.

  3. Poigant, Myra. Lots of thoughts kicking up in my head as I'm reading this. I think I would go and knock on the door if I was in that area. I doubt I ever will be in the area again of where I grew up and left when I was 7 years old, but I think I might be tempted, very tempted in fact, to knock on the door of that house and go through it if they allowed me to. It was an interesting house and although I'm not one to believe in such things as ghosts, that house definitely had some strange occurrences when wel ived there that even 47 years later I can vivdly remember. So that is definitely not a house I would hold in fond memory, but a house that I would just like to walk through one last time.

    I am barely tolerating the house I'm living in now, but I'm trying to be thankful for a roof over my head. This house will never be home for me, but its paid for and again I am grateful for a roof over me.

    I've lived in so many houses over the years, some we were buying, some we were renting, one given to us. I'm not sure I ever made any of them truly a home.

    Like I said lots of interesting thoughts going through my head after reading this......


  4. When I go back to where I raised the kids, I always drive past our three homes. We tore out carpet, put up fence, planted 100 trees, gutted a kitchen...leaving our mark in these three homes...doing all the work ourselves. Your house looks like an english cottage to me.

  5. Boy do I relate to what you wrote. I long to downsize to a smaller place that I can take care of in my old age. So the house hasn't been built yet. However we once had a gentleman knock on our door here and ask if he could see the place. He was one of the previous owners and wanted to take a trip down memory lane.

  6. Your post shows me I lack imagination. I better get on the stick and find that Shabby Chic home I can dream about!

  7. Bittersweet post.

    I suppose the "house that built me" is the one I'm living in and have lived in now for 25 years, although I can certainly name a couple of others that held a multitude of memories and lessons for living.

  8. I would love to just have the nerve to walk across the street and ask for a tour of the house they built. No desire here to walk through the house that built me....too many bad memories and it is no longer standing!! Loved reading your post though

  9. Oh, Myra! Somehow I missed this beautifully written post. I loved so many of your lines, but especially this one, "I hope they love it ... the way in which I forgot to do." I've loved many a place I've lived, and for various reasons that have nothing to do with monetary things. The house that built me, I think you already know, since you've read my memoir! It's the one on Preston Lane. I just drove past it again a week ago, and although it's over 60 years old, and in a neighborhood that isn't the best in the world, it looked rather nice. I've thought about knocking on the door and asking to step inside, but I'm afraid of how it might look. I rather hang onto my own memories of it. Thank you for writing this beautiful post!

  10. Just stopping by to thank you for your comment on my blog. I appreciate the nice thoughts. I enjoyed reading this entry of yours too. I never read the House that built me, but I do have a favorite house where I lived during the time my children were growing up. Those were wonderful years.

  11. LOVE this blog post! It is so timely for me, too, because on a random google adventure last week, I happened to discover that the house where I spent my childhood was on the market in my old home town a thousand miles away. There was a listing, complete with pictures, so I could see what they had done to the place. I sent along the link to both sisters and looked at it with my mother.

    It was a bittersweet e-journey.

    BTW, I have been completely out of pocket so just read (and loved) your previous post. I loved it!

  12. Myra, you are so welcome to hang around, any time. I feel like I am fortunate to get any new bloggers interested in my blog. I am self taught on the PC and am hesitant to venture to far out on the limb. So glad Tom is doing well. It is not pleasant to go through these things. I love Jack and Sherry's blog. Jacks sister Shirl is pretty special to , Just good people.

  13. I really thought that when we sold our house of 40 yrs, that I had pretty much fixed it up the way I wanted, that I would miss it sooo much. Not so...the house we're in now (son's) is so perfect for us in our olden years that we feel too blessed to miss an ole house.:)

  14. My father built the home I grew up in 1946, the year my brother Ed was born. They raised all of us five kids there although the two older ones, Patty and Bill lived in my grandmothers house which my sister Mary owns today. I was the baby so I adored my dad and I wish that house was still in our phamily. I love the song The House That Built Me. Wonderful post. I like that Texas house too. Such a nice memory for you.

  15. I still think of Hartford as home, even though I've lived in New York almost forty years. But when I come in the door of my own little apartment I really feel home. It's small, it needs some work, but it's my quiet place and I am very lucky. Great question!


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