Friday Fictioneers–A House is Not a Home

Posted: January 8, 2014 in Friday Fictioneers, House and home, Personal
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

I enter the land of no internet tomorrow as I board the plane to visit my parents in Arizona.  Of course there is internet, but to get it, I have to go to the nearby library or a Starbucks which I’ll do, but not for long each day.  This will be family time and I intend to enjoy it.  I’ll be blogging every day but won’t be able to get much reading done, so apologies in advance.  The almost-two weeks I’ll be there will fly by all too quickly but will be fun, even while I’ll miss Bill.

For those of you not familiar with Friday Fictioneers, a weekly photo prompt serves as the springing-off place of a story of 100 words.  Sounds easy, but it ain’t necessarily so.   You’re welcome to join by going to the home page or just read any other stories by clicking on the link at the end of mine.  Warning!!  It’s very addictive.

My story this week is non-fiction.  We sold our house at the end of August and, in a week, moved from the home we’d lived in for 28 of our 29 married years.  When we put the house on the market, I emailed the realtor once about something at “our home.”  He told me to think of it now as a house, not a home, that you sell a house. “Home” has an emotional connection it’s best you to try to avoid when selling. This story springs somewhat from his wise words.

copyright Dawn at Lingering Visions

copyright Dawn at Tales from the Motherland

A House is Not A Home

We found it accidentally shortly after our marriage.  Light streamed in through over-sized windows, sixties-hued carpet concealed hardwood floors, the kitchen sported forest-service green linoleum.  It seemed as if we could never fill the space.

Over twenty-eight years, we chose furniture, gloried in the light, decorated, planted, mowed, set up bird feeders, fostered pit bulls, hosted friends, enjoyed two daughters.  The space filled with laughter, learning and love.  House morphed into home.

When the movers left, light shone in, floors glowed, the paint was perfect.  Memory-filled house, no longer a home, waited emptily.

We drove away.

We didn’t look back.

  1. Sandra says:

    Nicely done Janet. I liked the dispassionate ending on your reflection. We’ve had 17 different homes since getting together, so I can identify with the sentiments here. Enjoy your trip and safe travel.

    • Wow, 17 homes!! We’ve just had the one, which is why leaving it was so difficult. It was truly a home and the only one our girls every knew. Now we’re in a rental, which isn’t at all the same. Thanks for the good wishes. I’m just praying the flights are all going by tomorrow!


  2. That’s a great look at how a building morphs into a home, but you’re right: in the end, you take home with you, not leave it behind.

  3. Helena Hann-Basquiat says:

    This made me a little sad, Janet…. I hope you feel that “home” feeling again very soon.

    • Thanks, Helena, and nice to see you. I hope your year’s off to a good start and you’re not freezing. Our younger daughter and I were in Cleveland before Christmas, very close to our (former) house, but neither of us wanted to drive by and see someone else there. 🙂 The house, while I miss much about it, is not where my home is; that’s where I am now and it’s not in a building.


      • Helena Hann-Basquiat says:

        I am freezing, but thanks for asking! -40 with windchill here.

      • Yeah, we had that Sunday-Tuesday. With wind chill we hit the -45 range several times. It’s up to 0 today on the way to 11, so I’m sure it will be toasty when I head out in a few minutes. 🙂 Be safe and warm.

  4. znjavid says:

    Must have been difficult moving away. Nicely written.

  5. Adam Ickes says:

    I couldn’t imagine leaving my home, but it may happen some day. Seems like you’re never at the rental anyway. You’ve been doing a lot of traveling lately. 🙂

  6. kz says:

    i enjoyed your piece of non-fiction 🙂 new house, new home, new adventures and new memories. i hope you have a great time with your parents 🙂

    • Thanks, kz. We always have a lot of fun and I have lots of relaxation time as well as warm weather. This year, especially, the latter will be greatly prized! 🙂


  7. Very lyrical. And it sort of brought a tear to my eye. I understand the need to say goodbye to the home and replace it with house. I’ve done it before myself. But this home sounds like something special. I hope the new homeowners know what a special place they have.

    • The new owners are renting is, so who knows? I hope someday someone owns it and fixes it up to the jewel it could be. But I just don’t think too much about it.


  8. Perfect Janet lots of emotions. Enjoy your family and Arizona.

    • Thanks to all of that! 🙂 I plan to have a great time. With the exception of last year when I was getting the house market-ready, I go every January. As my parents get older, it becomes even more important. And the weather helps, too, and my brother and his family live nearby.


  9. Amy says:

    I can feel the sentiment. Well done, Janet. Enjoy being with your family!

  10. sandraconner says:

    You’ve captured the whole experience perfectly — from the intense emotional connection that will be part of you forever — to the deliberate decision to cut the cord without looking back and opening yourself up to possible negative effects of those emotions. I’ve lived in several homes in my lifetime, and most definitely, what was just a house became a home because we lived and loved in it. Each time it was hard to leave, but, at the same time, the new beginning we had to look forward to made up for the sense of loss. I’ve felt that way about cars I’ve owned as well. Thanks for letting us be a part of your ‘real’ life through this story.

    • Sandra, I had a ’75 Super Beetle that I felt the same way about. When the girls were born, the car seats wouldn’t go in the back and the heat needed some work, so we sold the car to a woman who was giving it to her son for his 16th birthday. I’m sure they spent more money on it than we ever could have and it probably still looks great today. But I did love that car!

  11. mike olley says:

    That’s the only way to do it: don’t look back. And the only time to go back to a previous home is when they’re making a documentary about you.

  12. Linda Vernon says:

    I love the way you described making the space a home. I guess it’s the energy you put into that makes a place return the home vibes to you, kind of as a reward! I really liked this story. Have a wonderful visit!

    • Hi, Linda. I’m working my way towards you and hopefully will make it before I head off to the hockey game. So glad you liked the story. As for the visit, it should be good.


  13. gingerpoetry says:

    l Ioved your Story, how you packed 28 years in a few words. I like the Image of the “waiting house”,
    (I always feel that buildings live.) But your home is where your heart is – so the building doesn´t matter. A lot of People own huge houses but they have no home…anyhow .
    Liebe Grüße

  14. liz young says:

    After the sadness – the fun and joy of making another home.

  15. vbholmes says:

    Twenty-eight years! A long time in one house. You did a good job of expressing your feelings about leaving it for your new home. I have to say, I’ve lived in a couple of rentals and there’s a plus to having a landlord: when something goes wrong, you call him and he gets it fixed. Definitely cuts down on the hassle. Have a wonderful visit with your family, Janet, and hello to Bill.

  16. Jim Kane says:

    Nicely done! Have a great week!

  17. *Gulp* This is very moving, Janet. We have had to move 4 times in our 28 years, and have been here for 13 years. I like to put down roots, and make it mine. I can only imagine the difficulty of making a home a house again. Wonderful story from this prompt. I can really see how this photo could take you there. Beautiful! Again, have a wonderful time in AZ!

    • Good morning. Just ready for some breakfast and to do my last-minute things before heading for the airport. Thankfully, it appears the planes are flying regularly again so hopefully I’ll leave on time. Anyway, glad you liked the story. I think most people have moved from a place they loved and it can be very difficult. Blessings on your day.


  18. Jan Brown says:

    A lovely memoir, Janet.

  19. draliman says:

    That was a lovely piece about your lovely memories of home and then ultimately having to put all emotion aside to move out.

  20. Dear Janet,

    And you worked your tail feathers off to leave that house in better shape than you found it. I hope someone will move in and love it as much as you and your family. Lovely piece, not a word out of place.



    • It was in much better shape. If you see a neighbor fixing things, don’t you generally wonder if they’re getting ready to move? Nice to see you and I’ll send you some warm air if possible.


  21. Joe Owens says:

    Over the time I have read your writing you seem to approach things like I do. When my mom dies nearly four years ago I decided to rent her home to some friends. The best way I could deal with the situation was to immediate consider it their house instead of hers. Perhaps that was short-circuiting the grieving process, but it was just the way I chose. What a loving tribute to your home of so long.

    • I think that was probably wise, Joe. Otherwise there would have been even more baggage and grief. I have good memories of our home and one day we’ll make another house into our home.


  22. Hi Janet,
    I can so relate to this because I have trouble parting with things I’ve had a long time, especially houses and cars. I sold my old pick-up for scrap last year and I had trouble keeping it together when they came and hauled it off. I think this is a great homage to a home, and also to a relationship. Ron

  23. plaridel says:

    as they say, home is where the heart is. nice story.

  24. pattisj says:

    I can’t imagine how hard it is to move on after so much time in one abode. You told your story so well. Happy travels and visits.

    • Thanks very much, Patti. I’m loving the weather and, of course, spending time with Mom and Dad. Off to look at Indian jewelry and art galleries this afternoon.


  25. So true. Your portrait of the family home is spot on – and how somehow, we can fix them up, enjoy the hell out of them and up and move to god knows where (Athens for me), but I’ve built them up and left them so many times, I’ve lost count…

    • I don’t know if it would be easier or not, moving more often. After 28 years, it was tough leaving the house that had been our only home. But life’s good where we are now, too.


  26. unspywriter says:

    Exact same feelings I had when I sold the first house I ever owned on my own. Very sweet and thanks for letting us into your home, despite what the realtor said to call it.

    Here’s mine:

    • I’m happy you enjoyed the visit, Maggie. I hope to make it to more stories tomorrow but being without internet at the house makes it much more difficult. In the meantime, keep warm!


  27. rgayer55 says:

    We built the house we live in around 1990. Our daughter was 9 and son 6 when we moved from the only home they’d ever known. It was only a two mile move, but they cried like babies when we hauled the last load. The promise of having new rooms of their own dimmed in comparrison to the memories they were forced to leave behind. I think they still look longingly at the old house when driving past.

  28. The only house we ever lived in that meant that much to me was in Southern Arkansas and I loved the floor plan, the huge trees and that was where our 4th son was born. I still miss that house! Very good read – thank you! Nan

  29. To build a home take decades.. To tear it down takes an instant.

  30. This may be non-fiction, Janet, but it certainly reads like a fictional story. I can see how you would want to get that distance from a home packed full of joyful memories. This was beautiful.

  31. I like how you began and ended with it being a house. I imagined the next young couople to move in and make it their home. Safe travels.

  32. Dee says:

    Great take on the prompt Janet and thank you for reminding us that a house is not necessarily a home.
    Hope all is going well on your travels, sorry to be late catching up this time

    • Travels are great so far, Dee. Don’t worry about being late. I appreciate that you took the time. I wasn’t able to read more than about 30 this week and won’t be writing tomorrow. Too busy and too little internet.


  33. You do a great job of taking the reader along your journey from home to house. And that image of the home or house on a stone or rock formation really captures the emotions very well.