Pages from T C's Journal
Home. Can you have more than one?
Would that negate the very meaning of home? I’ve lived on my own for
fifteen years; I’ve lived in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, for over four.
Yet when I am planning a trip back to my birthplace of York, Pennsylvania,
to see my family, I still catch myself saying “I’m going home.”
Yet I also think of this place as home: my house on Gosling Marsh Road,
my town of Shepherdstown, the beautiful state of West Virginia.
Perhaps home is born of familiarity. I know that what I see when
I drive down Market Street in my hometown is different from what others
see. I don’t just see buildings and street signs; I see familiar places.
I see memories.
In four short years, I’ve created and collected the same sort of
memories in my new home of Shepherdstown, West Virginia. It is these
memories that make me feel like a part of this town, that make me want to
call it home. It’s not just where I live; I belong.
A tourist or visitor would drive down German Street and see some cute
shops and restaurants and a few townspeople. But I see details. I see a
spirit—a living, breathing spirit—that runs through this town. It opens
its arms wide to welcome me, saying, “I remember you! I’m glad you’re
here! Come, make yourself at home.”
As I walk
past the dormitories on campus, I wonder how many of the inhabitants
consider this their home. I notice personalized touches on some of
the windows: a trophy on a window sill, student’s artwork or posters
on a wall, a sorority flag in place of a curtain. Do these things
make it home? I bet that, when these students go back to their family
homesteads on weekends and breaks, they say they’re going “home.”
The thing is, homes are always temporary. So rare is the person who
lives her entire life in the same house. Even Emily Dickinson—one of the
most reclusive, private people I can think of—lived in two different
houses, not including the year she spent away at school. In the grander
scheme of things, we only call earth home for a short time, and then it’s
off to the next place. And, where was home before here?
So, what is the definition of home?