I’m starting to think about school and planning lessons and playing around with internet to find resources. My year 7 class begin the year with a unit called Belonging and we use Nadia Wheatley’s picture book My Place along with some other texts and lots of poetry. I wanted to find some “models” and also a text for their first homework sheet. It proved to be a bit difficult ( so if you know of any online resources that might fit here please let me know). Eventually I found a nice story by Frances59 about her crazy family. I was rally looking for something about “home’. personal recounts of the way people feel about ‘home’. It got me thinking about how even though I haven’t lived at ‘home’ for 35 years, it is still ‘home’. This has become more significant lately because the house I grew up in and the ‘home’ I go back to will soon be sold.
My Mum has decided it is time to go into a retirement villa, near where my Dad is in a Nursing home. This is something she and Dad have talked about doing ‘when the time came’. Well, the time has come and it is the best thing for them. It has still had quite an impact on me and my siblings. On a recent visit to my Mum, my husband, Paul, and I talked a lot about how lucky we had been to be able to go back to this place so often. I grew up in Port Stephens, NSW. Shoal Bay to be more accurate. (There is a pic of my favourite view of the heads at Shoal Bay in the Flickr stream). I was born in the community hospital there and my parents moved into the house where they have lived for 48 years when I was five. I still remember Dad developing the garden and planting the lawn, the cubby I set fire to playing house and Mum throwing the clothes I hadn’t picked up off the floor out my bedroom window to greet me on my return home from school. It’s where I met by husband when I was 16, it’s where my kids had their first Christmases, where I learnt to swim and surf as a teenager, where my sisters and I were married from, where we came back to after living overseas for a few years. Most of all it is a beautiful place that taught me to appreciate natural beauty.
I do sound very attached and yet where I live now is home too. Our family life is here and it will also be a hard place to leave, filled as it is with our family memories. Now I live on ten acres, with gardens and horses, a creek and lots of Australian wildlife, a long way from the beautiful beaches of Port Stephens. I wonder if I will ever leave here and call some other place ‘home’. Neither Paul nor I can imagine living anywhere else. Sometimes we talk about maybe retiring somewhere else but it never seems to get much airplay. Home is very much a place but it seems to be more than just place. It is family and memories and milestones too. Things that actually do remain long after we have left the place where they happened but in some strange way also tied to those places forever. So while this is my home, where I grew up will always be home too.