Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Making a house into a home
From SI Live:
The American Heritage Dictionary defines "home" as "a place where one lives." The values most meaningful to us are reflected in the ways we view, and use, our homes. Are our homes places to collapse after a long day at work? Or, do they represent something deeper - a place where we have control over the kind of lives we dream of leading? This is a true story of how one couple's search for a house that could fulfill their vision of raising a family was realized.
They saw a place that was, as Shelley remembers, "a container for an interest in history" of early Tottenville. Why was local history so important? Because knowing where we live, really knowing where we live, matters. As Neil says, "We're not a part of this history, but the house is." Shelley and Neil thought this would be a "perfect house for reading and writing."
Shelley and Neil went about learning all they could of the house's history to "preserve its integrity." They learned the house was built by a salesman named Baxter, whose family extensions through blood and marriage still run deep in town. At the same time, it became the family "big occasions house." Bar and Bat Mitzvah's were celebrated at home. And finally, Shelley and Neil became part of a street where people knew each other. To this day, every July, Shelley and Neil have all the neighbors over on a Sunday and they talk from afternoon to midnight.
...this was not an isolated life. It was a richer one than many can imagine inside the box of how we often limit our lives today.
The kids are grown up now, but they still return on weekends with their spouses and the grandchildren to Hopping Avenue because, after all, home is where the history is.