“Home is where the heart is” and other notes
I know that I am not of the norm. Living outside the United States, in a foreign country keeps me living outside the average lifestyle of Americans. There are people, though, that are born, live, and will die in the same town. Their family and friends are close. Their lives circle around the dynamics of one community. You could consider them the lucky ones but in these times they are also the exception not the rule.
During the 50s and 60s and maybe even into the 70s this live-in-one-place life was still the norm. It has slowly become the standard for families to split up, move apart, to live great distances from each other. I was going to use my family as an example of this slow change in family dynamics, but really it has not ever fit into the norm. For our family, starting in 1944 and 1946, my two oldest sister were born in two different states while my father was still in the Army. They may correct me at any time but I am sure at least that they were not born in our ‘hometown’ of Adrian. Judy and I were born in ‘48, ‘50 in Adrian, Michigan. Then the two brothers in (or around) Kingman, Arizona and the last, the baby, in Cottonwood, Arizona. My family lived in Cottonwood and area until I was a freshman in high school then we all seemed to gravitate back to Adrian.
When I married and had my children, my husband and I lived in Morenci, Michigan; moving all of 20 miles away and only living there for 3 years. Then we lived in 3 cities in 3 years: Phoenix, Virginia Beach, Dallas, and finally landed in Houston in the mid 70s. I left there in 2003 for Brasil. Twenty-eight years in one place, a miracle. In a few more months, I will have been in Brasil for 9 years.
My daughter and her children still live in Houston, my son is in Phoenix, my mother is now back in Adrian living with Candy, one of the ‘older’ sisters. Candy is one of the lucky ones, having lived in Adrian for the past 45 years. All her children live within a max 4 hour trip home. I also have a sister in Virginia, one in S. Carolina, a brother in Colorado, and a brother in Prescott and a sister in the Phoenix area. Where all of their children and grandchildren are is a list too long for me to type into one sentence. You can start to see my dilemma for where I would call ‘home’ or to define that place as ‘where the heart is’.
The longer I live in Brasil the more transparent the concept of HOME becomes. Slowly, I am moving away from who I was, and what my life was when living in Houston. Friends have died, left or lost their spouses, remarried or just moved away. The large group that I used to meet to dance has disappeared, the ones left have gotten old..... OLDER – sorry! Not me, of course. This visit to Houston I have felt almost disoriented trying to fit myself back into the feelings of being HOME. Shopping hasn’t seemed as much fun, I’m not driven to see and eat everything.... well that’s not completely true – but creative license allows me some wiggle room. Now I find myself visiting Patty’s home versus returning home and have to conclude that this is just another sign of the times.