All of us have heard the old saying, “Home is where the heart is.”
In these difficult times, though, I have to wonder if most people’s perceptions of home might not have changed.
Foreclosure statistics now fill the nightly news. Retirement communities are under stress, as retirees find it impossible to sell their family homes, pocket any sort of equity, and move to an earthly paradise of their own choosing.
As a history major, my mind always reverts to the Depression whenever our country undergoes financial stress, and immediately, memories of that generation within my family flow right in.
My maternal grandparents spent many hours basically differing over the biblical phrase that cautions one to “Owe no man!”
Grandpa believed that if the monthly amount due on the mortgage had been paid, then he owed no one until the following month’s payment inevitably came due.
Grandma believed that if you had a mortgage, you owed someone else a lot, and furthermore, you owed them all the time.
In the 1920s, the house first cost them a thousand dollars.
Determined to owe no one, my grandmother, who had distinguished herself by being the first person from her part of town to graduate from high school, went to work at a local publishing company, where she tied book bindings with her hands.
Here she stayed for almost forty years.
Each time Grandma paid the mortgage off, Grandpa spotted something he felt the family needed – a horse for the kids to ride, the first car in the neighborhood, or a trip to the big city – and in a flash, he would’ve borrowed the original mortgage back, plus a little more for good measure.
On and on it went, until their marriage crumbled – their house no longer able to provide them both a home.
My paternal grandmother’s life told an entirely different story.
Widowed when her only child was still a boy, she ran a grocery, worked as a seamstress, and then followed her son from the city of Chicago to a small county seat in Indiana, where he chose to go to college.
Here Grandma combined her culinary skills with her business acumen and ran a fraternity house full of men, all of whom were far from their individual homes.
In this town, my parents met, married, and then moved to the big city in which my father would attend graduate school.
A new bride, my mother strove to line her nest and make a home in an era when circumstances were against her.
Post World War II America was experiencing a major housing shortage, and the best the newly marrieds could do was rent a room, sharing the house’s single bath and kitchen with three other couples.
Two years later, I came along, and they bought a double house.
Our family of three moved into the right side, and my father’s mother and a maiden great-aunt moved into the left.
Now I had two homes from which to choose.
Recently, my son bought a house and flipped it – not to sell, but to live in.
Having stood empty for over two years, the house had good bones, but it needed lots of work.
Unlike others, Patrick has lived to tell the story or, rather, we have.
In honor of his survival of this process, Annie Acorn Publishing has uploaded a new ebook, How to Survive Your New Home Purchase, onto Amazon today.
If you are even thinking of purchasing a home, please check it out.
Let us hear how you’ve turned your house into a home!