Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What is 'back home'?

I'm still thinking about this question, or should I call it doubt or my problem, which came to my mind when I commented on dear Rouchswalwe's 'Hennis Lina' post. 

Whenever I travel to a destination on this continent or just visit a neighbour I will eventually say that 'I'm going home'. Home being the apartment  in which I live by myself.  It's not the house I lived in and it's not any other space I occupied before, with parents and siblings or with husbands and children.

When I use the words 'back home' they represent a specific town in Europe where I lived
from age 11 to age 18 - Horb - and not Berlin where I was born and where Mom grew up and where Oma and Opa lived,nor Athens where I had many cousins to play with, nor Hallwangen where Rosa lived nor Haigerloch where I could look into the prison court from the kitchen window of my girlfriend's house, nor Lahr-Dinglingen from where I came to Canada with husband and child.     

(I recently mentioned to B., my niece's husband, that I need a ghost writer, un negre(with accent) as they call them here in Quebec. He kindly offered to be 'it' - the offer is still on - although I asked for it I can't bring myself to accept -it would be cheating. So, here I am struggling - they'll be off for a 3year or more world tour anyway).  

Why is Horb 'back home'?  I have so very few  warm memories of family life. I'm sitting here trying to find the few but it's the not so warm ones that are taking over. Doors slamming, very loud male/female voices, plates hitting the wall, tears, but never never reconciliation. I can't believe, thinking back now, that I never heard  my parents have a conversation with each other, that I can't think of a single outing where the four of us were together. That's not back home. So sad.
To me, 'back home' is an entire small town in a valley with a river flowing through it, a few good friends, three churches, a soccer field, a movie theatre, narrow alleys, path going up hill along the cemetery, High School, chapel on top of mountain, a hospital, train station, Carnival, Christmas Market, Circus in town, tree on roof May 1st, bicycle tours, sport competitions, laughter, sadness, love, kisses, book on knees under tree and and and. So, what exactly is it  that makes  Horb 'back home' for me?  
Everywhere we live we are sprinkled with good and bad memories and I suppose that each of us has a different spot that he calls back home.

I'm going to stop right here.  Thousands of things appear and disappear in my mind without leaving words behind.

Wow, I'm hollering, following RR's advice "Spellcheck only found 2 mistakes. I'll never learn how to spell cemetary."


Rouchswalwe said...

I have been thinking much on this, too, my dear Ellena. Your eloquence speaks straight to my heart. This spot, this spot called "back home" is something I don't think I have. At least it's not a location, if anything it's a time perhaps. Right now, back home is here, where the cat waits for me after work, where people recognize and greet me in local restaurants and at the market, where my friends of the heart live just up the street. Ah! So maybe it's a place after all. A place in time. Home is multi-dimensional. I'm going to stop right here since there is no Tardis in sight (do you know the Dr. Who program?).

P.S. Please! Dearest Ellena! no ghost writer! I would miss the depth of your words, which perfection would injure.

Halle said...

Oh dear yes, I agree with Rouchswalwe you must continue to write your ideas your way.
These ideas you have written about challenge each of us to ask if we have a 'back home' of our own. I will admit with regret that mine is a place of my imagining. In some ways, the same for you, situated in a time associated with my teen years. For me it is a place where all things were still possible; a place where that child lives who I would want to sit and have a chat with.

Rouchswalwe said...

Beautifully expressed, Halle! I tend to think of the past as more homey. There are people who think of the future as home, but I wonder if they use the expression "back home" ...

Ellena said...

I like your present 'back home'.
I never heard of Tardis nor of Dr.Who program. Had to google. Big Bang Sheldon also had a time machine in his apartment.
As to the people who think of the future as home it's not the same as thinking of building a home in the future, is it? As for the later ones, I wish them all the best.

Ellena said...

Beautifully expressed! as Rouchswalwe says.
No need to have a conversation with that child. Just imagine it sitting deep down inside you - hug it and love it. That's all we can do when nothing else works.

Sabine said...

I was thinking of you when I visited Horb. It seemed such a quiet place while we were walking there on a Sunday afternoon. But when we opened the door to the little cafe, all the world was there, queuing for seats and Apfelkuchen.