“Then close your eyes and tap your heels together three times. And think to yourself: There’s no place like home; there’s no place like home; there’s no place like home!” ~Glinda
Home is where the heart is…. that’s the cliche we’ve all grown up with, right? Merriam-Webster defines home as “a place of origin” or “one’s place of residence” but we have always carried the intuitive definition that it’s where we grew up. It’s the place that raised you, and the people who got you to where you are today. My home is this tiny picturesque town that resembles the dysfunctional fictional city of Stars Hallow from Gilmore Girls. (It took a village to raise this girl).
More importantly though, Home is a feeling. It’s the feeling when I turn off of I-65 after a long car ride of nothing but bad country music stations and construction. It’s that feeling where I sit a little straighter in the front seat, where I let go of the breath it feels like I’ve held for 3 hours, and where everything feels familiar again that tells me I’m home. It’s how I know I’m on my road because I know how it feels to go over that sharp bend in the road and over the pot hole they’ve never fixed right before I turn into my drive way. A combine, Semi, and lawnmower are all driving down the highway……. no, it’s not the beginning of a joke. It’s my home.
But something’s changing. All this time Home has been a set location. It’s been that place I’ve ached to return to after a bad day and where I’ve always felt I’ve belonged. Now, I AM Home. But it doesn’t feel the same. It’s a result of growing up, I assume, but something is different. For one, Franklin is different. It’s petty I know, but I the places I’ve grown up, the places containing my childhood have changed. Buildings are gone; land once the ideal sledding location has been plowed and paved. But this is all tangible stuff.
In the “home is more of an idea” or a “nebulous cloud of mushy warmth and love” field, something’s changed too. My life isn’t really here anymore. In the month or so I’ve been back, I can tell it’s just not the same. Sure, it’s fun to be here for the summer, but I’m counting down the days until I leave. It’s not that my heart isn’t here, because it is. Part of it always will be. No matter how far away I move or how long I’m gone, I’ll always know the road back to where I grew up…. it’s just part of coming from a small town. It’s just that my heart is now somewhere else, too. It’s at this place I spend about 9 months out of the year: Centre.
That feeling of going Home? It goes both ways. There’s now a reassuring feeling of coming over the hill past Walmart and reaching the point where “walk sign is on” rings out over campus. And I have a hunch that as the years wane on, that feeling will grow stronger.
I know I will always have a home where I grew up, this is certain. But when your heart isn’t confined to one place, Home becomes a little harder to pin down.
“No matter how dreary and gray our homes are, we people of flesh and blood would rather live there than in any other country, be it ever so beautiful. There is no place like home.” ~L. Frank Baum