Should be fun, I hope. We’re headed off to Philadelphia, for my parents’ 50th anniversary party, to get some nephew face-time (and not in Apple’s sense of the word) before he grows out of all recognition, and to celebrate Rosh Hashanah with my family.
Used to be I used the word “home” to mean the US in general, our own house by the lake in Oregon, Philadelphia, and where we were living in the Netherlands. Now I’m down to using it in two ways: about the house we live in west of Portland, and Philadelphia where my immediate family is. I can that home mostly out of long habit. I moved away more than half of my life ago, never planned to go back for more than a visit, and when I go back I feel like a hermit crab revisiting an old shell that’s too small. But it’s where I’m from, born, bred, and educated, where I first got to be me, so I’ll probably always call it home even though it isn’t. I don’t really think of the lake house as home now, even though we both love it more than the townhouse we actually live in. I used to call it home mostly, I think, as a marker for meaning all of the US as opposed to the Netherlands or Taiwan when we moved there. Someday the lake house will be where we live, we hope; meanwhile it isn’t home but it’s ours and we belong to it.
Mom’s been making sure my nephew Hunter knows who we are; she shows him our picture and tries to get him to say our names. (As many toddlers have proved, “Paula” is a hard name for a 2-year-old to say. My favorite toddler-ism was the neighbor who called me “Purple” for a long while.) My brother and SIL do too, I think, but I wonder if Mom especially gets flashbacks when she does it. My brother and I only had one real uncle (we had great-aunts and uncles and great-greats and used the title for some family friends when we were little), and when my brother was born he wasn’t around either, though not by choice – he’d been drafted and was serving in Vietnam. He used to send letters with funny pictures drawn in it; I remember those, though mostly for the pictures. (I was 4 when my brother was born – I was reading, but probably not handwriting or anything more complicated than Dr Seuss or Richard Scarry.) I think my uncle had been gone also when I was a bit younger for some kind of student job in England one summer; Mom has stories of me saying “Unc’ Wa-wa – airpane – all gone!” Apparently Hunter sounds a lot like that now. Given that Uncle Larry died in the two years between my brother’s marriage and his son’s birth, I like that continuity. It reassures me, too, because my uncle and I were good friends as well as close relatives despite never living in the same city. I inherited his yen for travel; my parents and brother don’t have it.
Mirrored from Dichroic Reflections.