Home, for me, means safety and knowing my space inside out. I know that I’m home when I feel so comfortable that noises don’t bother me. When I can identify each creak, squeak and floor board movement, I feel completely at home. For some reason, hearing and knowing what goes on in the house makes me feel very safe.
I should also point out that since safety and knowing my space intimately defines “home” for me, my house here, isn’t the only place that I call home. My mother’s house is another one of my “homes”. I can navigate my mother’s house blindfolded and I can tell you the reason for every noise that goes on at night.
My aunt and uncle’s house in France feels like “home” even though I haven’t been there since 2005. My vivid childhood memories accumulated and reinforced year after year of long wonderful summer vacations, still makes their house, home for me. It just feels like a big part of me and informed a large piece of my character and personality. Essentially the same ease of nocturnal navigation and noise identification. The big difference, and this is a huge positive in the plus column, is my home in France also has the distinct smells emanating from my aunt’s kitchen of wonderful simmering vegetable soups and roasting pheasant and potatoes. My nose would be leading the parade back to my aunt’s kitchen. Sigh.
I have a confession to make, I, at one point during the year 2006, considered a hotel to be a “home”. My husband and I were in New York doing business as usual for the whole week. I can’t remember why we didn’t want to go home to our apartment in Jersey, something about having to be on the job site for 5:00 a.m. or some crazy hour. So my husband charged me with finding a hotel in the city so we would be more or less immediately available for the crews on the job site. All the hotels were sold out, some event in New York, but what else is new. The only hotel that had an availability was the Pierre Hotel on Fifth avenue. I so wanted to stay there, because my great-uncle, who I adored as a child, had been a chef there when he lived in New York, my great-aunt, whom I adored as well, was a seamstress for a designer boutique on Madison Avenue, this was during the 50’s and 60’s. I don’t know why nut those little facts made me feel a connection to the Pierre. My husband acquiesced to the hotel and when we arrived, the hotel manager herself, escorted us to the Escoffier Suite. We ended up spending a week there. I felt at home, the staff called me Mrs Nichols, I felt a little like “Eloise at the Plaza”. It was a vacation, a fantasy, old world luxury, it was pure decadent fun, I don’t regret it in the least.