Goodbye, Whitewood

Home. The word by very definition means, “One’s place of residence.” It’s not nearly as romantic as one would hope. It’s pretty simple. It’s the house, the four walls and a roof, that you live in – that is your home. There is one thing about the definition that I love – how open ended it is. And this girl loves the space for an intelligent discussion. What does residence mean? And to throw another definition at you, “the act or fact of dwelling in a place for some time.”

Ok, on with my point – lately I’ve been trying to figure out what home is, where I can find it. And it gets a little confusing. Sometimes I feel like I have too many homes, and, by definition, all my homes qualify as homes.

Every little kid draws a house fairly similar. It’s always a square with a roof, a door, maybe windows of varying shapes, and maybe some sort of plants. When I was little, this was a home.

And it’s kinda funny. Besides that chimney being on the wrong side and the lack of accurate window placement and other exterior adds such as porches, garages, and car ports, it’s my house. It has the bushes that were always out front on both sides of the door, the giant tree to the left, and the curved sidewalk. It looks like a very simple version of the building where my bright yellow room resided (granted it was probably seafoam green with rainbow ducky wallpaper at the time I drew most of these). That is home. For 19 years, it was my place.

NKU is my home. I lived there for three years. I lived, ate, and breathed the Residential Village my last year. That place – it just got under my skin and sunk into my heart. It’s special for lots of reasons. I learned new things everyday. Somedays it was simply not to ever eat anything from Commons “salad” bar. Other days I learned things much more valuable like how strong I could be and just how much I could handle. I found myself there. I found friends there. I found Josh there. NKU will always hold a special place in both our hearts. To this day, making the turn of Alexandria Pike and coming down the hill, it still causes my heart to skip a beat when the school comes into view. NKU is definitely our home.

Columbus became my home. I lived there for 10 months all by my lonesome. I became a “grown up” in Cbus. I paid my own bills. I did my own grocery shopping. I did my own dishes (when I had to). I loved my tiny apartment with my two little kittens who terrorized me at every turn causing many call to Josh, who was still at NKU, “Josh, Bellini won’t leave me alone!” or “Josh! That freakin cat is on top of the cabinet! What do I do?!” That tiny apartment became too tiny when the big boy moved in and we added a small dog to the mix.

We moved into a 2 bedroom townhouse literally right up the street. I loved that townhouse. I keep wishing we still had it. I think part of the emotional attachment to that place has to do with the fact that it was our first home as an engaged couple and then as a married couple. I planned our wedding in that townhouse. We started planning our life in that townhouse. It was where our roadmap started. I planned on eventually decorating the spare bedroom in pink or blue. We only lived there a year, but the attachment we both still feel to that place makes it seem longer. Well, Josh and the cats lived there a year. I lived there only 8 months before I got a job in Cincinnati. I lived with my parents for the first months of my marriage while Josh remained behind.

I miss the front patio with the sliding glass door that the cats used to meet me at when I got home from work. I miss our little kitchen with all it’s storage space. I miss the closet under the stairs filled with crap. I miss our pretty little bathroom and my walk in closet I didn’t have to share. I miss having stairs! I miss our tiny yard, and my flowerbed. I miss the lake being right around the side of the building and watching Maisy constantly try to chase the geese. I miss the stop sign where Maisy always went to the bathroom. I miss how pretty and green it all was. I miss the feeling it gave to me, that townhouse just breathed in and breathed out, “Home.”

Columbus is our home. I think it’s so special because it brought so many new things to our lives. I went to law school there. I found my puppylove there. I got engaged there. We explored a city foreign to both of us, so completely different where we both came from. Columbus is magical. It’s electric. It’s alive. It’s clean and gorgeous. We never got to go to a Crew game. We didn’t get to go to half the restaurants I wanted to go to. We never did a gallery hop. I miss walking around downtown, exploring the different foods at North Market, visiting Tuttle, and so on and so forth.  (I don’t miss the Buckeye fans though).

And then, home became West Chester. I love our little “manufactured home.” It needs a lot of upgrading, but it’s our home. I like that we don’t have to worry about maintenance people wondering into our house randomly. I like that we live in a quiet neighborhood. I love our bigger living room and kitchen and having two bathrooms. It’s where I brought a baby home. It’s Ellabelle’s 1st home. It’s where all her big baby firsts took and will take place.

One thing I don’t like: West Chester. I hate the way most people in West Chester act. They walk around with their noses in the air and act like their entitled to something because they spent a fortune on their cars and their homes. I hate little women in big SUVs who can’t pull in or out of parking spaces at the grocery store. I hate the politics and the entitled brats that run around. I hate the traffic. And, oh god, I hate that effin train. I hate trains. This city has made me hate trains.  But I love my little home on Basin Street.

So, my point, saying good bye to the physical building that was my home for 22 years (the phone number is still listed as “Home” in my contacts) is hard. All my childhood memories are in the building – putting on shows in the living room while my dad turned the tv up over our music, playing hopscotch on the tiles in the front hall, being a band under the carport with brooms, refusing to go into the basement for any reason, having to go out in the backyard to paint my nails, being scared that demon from The Exorcist was living in the attic after I watched the movie freshman year. It’s where I learned the importance of family. It’s where I got my heartbroken on many different occasions. It’s where I realized my daddy and I love each other better if we aren’t under the same roof. It’s where I had my birthdays and Ellabelle’s first christmas. It’s where Angie learned to walk, and we both rode our bikes. It’s also where I fell off my bike and refused to ride it ever again. It’s where I was when I found that both of my paternal grandparents had died. It’s where I learned and loved and became a person. It’s where I grew up.

Thankfully, I’ve realized something as I’ve gotten older. This is a pretty obvious observation, but it’s one that takes time to really understand. Your home isn’t a building. Yes, there are memories and marks inside a building that has been your house that draw out those warm fuzzy feelings from inside you, but those memories are yours forever. I’ve also learned something about my home that I never imagined could be a conclusion about a home: your home can be a person. I didn’t realize this until just recently. It makes sense my home was with my parents and with my sister. It wasn’t the brick house on the first side street to the left. It was them. And now, my home is Josh and Ellabelle. Josh has always said that I live in his heart, that I had to clear out a bunch of mayonnaise to make room for me. And as weird as it seems, I think that’s true. I live in him just as much as he lives in me. If we’re together, that’s all that matter.

When someone becomes your home, it’s scary. It’s a huge risk just like when you buy a new house. There’s just no inspector for this type of home. You have to trust your instinct because when someone becomes your home it’s like your soul stretches and contorts and connects to their soul. You’re fused together in a way that seems to be un severable. That’s why break ups (both between friends, family, and significant others) hurt so bad. It’s like the stitching has been ripped open and the wound that is left from that person absence is just left open to bleed and fester. Ultimately, you sew yourself back up, and you find someone else to attach onto. That doesn’t mean the other person is just forgotten about. There is still a scar left from where the stitches didn’t heal right. And that’s how I like to think of my soul: covered in scars and battered with Josh attached to one side, Ellabelle on the other, my parents attached to the bottom as my foundation, and Maisy’s little bitty piece snuggled up close to the middle.

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So, thank you, Whitewood, for being the place where my family could build memories. Thank you for being home to two messy little girls and loud (still messy) teenagers. Thanks for the slumber parties you held and parties you hosted. Thank you for letting Maisy hide bones all around you. Thank you for being the place where Josh experienced his first “real” Christmas. Thank you for being the staging area for so many big things – dance recitals, first and last days of school, graduations, a wedding. Thank you for all the good memories you contain. Thank you for being our home.

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