Thursday, March 5, 2015

Finding Home: Prologue

My husband and I have a house that is a home. It is a small 1941 "war box" in a community we love in West Seattle. We have remodeled extensively—taking down walls, finishing the basement, and building on a sunroom to add space to an 800 square foot home.

We have lived in this house for twenty four years, raised our daughter here, and shared the joys and sorrows of families around the globe within its walls. I belong to this house and to this community just as they belong to me. I have found my home. But it took time, and it wasn't always easy.

In my sixty years, I've had fifteen or twenty homes, depending on how they're counted. Home is the wrong word. Abodes, shelters, places I slept? These residences include houses my father built; dorm rooms; apartments in Seattle, Santa Cruz, Caracas, Mexico City; even a high-rise restroom during a brief period of homelessness, a time of transition; and now a house that is a home. I have lived here longer than any other place, including my childhood home in the Issaquah Valley nestled at the foot of the Cascade Range where I lived from age four to seventeen.

Home is the place we belong, where our roots run deep. A place where walls, people, and community hold us. For some that sense of belonging, of finding home, is as natural as breathing. For others it can be a lifelong journey. Most of us struggle with belonging, whether as a student in the lunch room of a suburban middle school, as an immigrant in a new land, or as an elder moving into assisted living.
When birth family does not exist, or is insufficient to fill their needs, my Alki Trilogy characters find home by building a family of friends. The third novel of the trilogy, Walking Home, is a story about searching for a place to nourish the soul and provide sanctuary from violence. In celebration of its upcoming publication, I'll be sharing a series of posts exploring my own search for home—the memories and emotions around each of the places I've lived. I hope you'll join me on this journey.

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