The Homes That Built Me

I thought if I could touch this place or feel it
This brokenness inside me might start healing
Out here it’s like I’m someone else
I thought that maybe I could find myself

If I could just come in, I swear I’ll leave
Won’t take nothing but a memory
From the house that built me

“The House That Built Me” Miranda Lambert

My throat tightens just a little every time I go back to homes I used to live in.

There are more than a few. We moved around quite a bit in my middling childhood years. Dad is a minister and followed his calling throughout the south and the Midwest.

Most homes belonged to others before us, and all belonged to others after. But for those months or years that our name was on the mailbox, stones were being added to my foundation. Some were as strong as granite.  Others were like soft limestone , replaced years later when they proved to be unreliable. Cracks in the walls and a sagging roof gave them away.

Not all homes are equal in their influence on my life nor in their ability to conjure memories. Some merely were temporary dwellings, others saw many birthdays, Christmases, report cards, skinned knees and bruised hearts. The images of these homes still stir my soul and imagination most deeply.

I remember each one, and whether I view them in a digital image or in person, I can still smell dinner on the stove, see mom waking us for school, and dad coming home from work. We never had much, but home for us was always a place mom and dad made sure was strong and sound – a refuge from storms both literal and figurative. The kind of home I long for. The kind I tried to build for my family.

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The Old Farmhouse, Humeston, IA

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East Ridge TN, circa 1972

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