“A man unconnected is at home everywhere; unless he may be said to be at home no where.” Samuel Johnson.
I wrote the post title and then went in search of a graphic – as I usually do – instead I came across the perfect quote. It expresses what I want to write about so perfectly I almost decided to not write at all.
I often refer to myself as ‘a little Italian girl from the Bronx’ but I really have no connection to the Bronx. I was born there and lived there for 8 years. I don’t remember much about it – I remember 2 of the places we lived. I vaguely remember the house we lived in; definitely remember the apartment we lived in. I remember the school, the playground, the marble factory, the Bond bread factory, or at least the way it smelled. I remember some of the people but not really much about the place. I don’t feel connected to the Bronx in any way. When I say I am a little Italian girl from the Bronx, I mean “Don’t f**k with me because I will wipe the streets with your ass.” That’s what the Bronx means to me.
My father moved us to Queens when I was 8. I’m sorry I never got to ask him why. Back in the 1950’s Queens was considered a suburb. We lived in a white picket fence neighborhood, and while Queens is purported to be the most ethnically diverse of all the boroughs, we lived in WASP-ville. To me Queens is a non-entity of a location. As as teenager I took every opportunity I could to sneak into Manhattan. That’s where my life was – Manhattan I could identify with. Queens? A huge zero.
As an adult I lived in Manhattan for a short time but mostly lived in Queens. Why? It was way cheaper and truth to tell my apartments, where I lived, were just places to keep my stuff. My life wasn’t there, those places weren’t home.
In the mid-1980’s I moved to Baltimore for a short time and one of my NYC friends said “What is a Broadway Matron doing in Ballermore?” Then I went back to New York, living in the non-place called Queens. But still feeling like New York City was home. I was the Broadway Matron.
When I was 43 I moved to Vermont and got married. I was sooo homesick for NYC and I stayed homesick for NYC for years and years. Moved to Northern Virginia, still felt like a Broadway Matron. Moved back to NYC for 6 months – Ahhh – HOME. Moved to the Bahamas – homesick for NYC. Moved to Boston – homesick for NYC. Moved back to Northern Virginia – still homesick for NYC – but a little less now. Moved to Philadelphia – now I was homesick for Northern Virginia!
So I am back in Northern Virginia but I’m not home. I’ve lived in so many places, moved so many times that I have no home. I am homeless. Do I have some place to live? Yes, of course. It’s nice. But…It’s not my home.
I would prefer to live in Alexandria, rather than Arlington, not because it is home but because it is familiar and comfortable. I’m not a Virginian; I don’t feel connected to this place. It’s a nice place, and way better than some I’ve lived in. But – it’s just a place to be.
I’ve come to the realization that given the opportunity, and money, I wouldn’t move back to NYC. Shocked me when I realized that. I may be from NYC but I am no longer a New Yorker, don’t even want to be. It’s my home town but it is no longer my home and never will be again, even if I lived there again, it wouldn’t be home.
I could move tomorrow, and it would be nothing more to me than a place to keep my stuff. Just like where I live now. Mansion or apartment – nothing more to me than a glorified storage unit.
I am unconnected and home-less.And you know what – I’m pretty much okay with that.
AMENDED TO INCLUDE A FB EXCHANGE WHICH MAKES MY POINT MORE CLEARLY – I THINK
Someone on FB responded to this post with:
“Home is inside you head and where people you care about (for you, hubby, for me hubby and kids) for some of us. The what place your head resides in is secondary. …..I do like my tiny house though. I think it’s the first place I’ve ever lived that I’ve felt is MINE.”
I responded to it with:
“I have never felt like where I lived ie: the building itself – was my home – we have now owned 2 abodes – the first I disliked from the moment I saw it and the second is a reasonable compromise. The second is far more pleasant to live in…I’m not attached to it in any way – could walk out the door and never look back or miss it. It is just a building.
I understand your definition of home – many, nay most people would say the same – doesn’t have any meaning to me. Since I live mostly inside my “head” then yes – home is inside my head – my intellect and my imagination is my home, I guess. But that’s not what I am talking about or feeling or not feeling. Once I felt I had a home – it was NYC. Now I do not have that feeling about any place. I am not connected to any place at all -“