I've continued to take pictures out of scrapbooks this past week since many of the scrapbooks are the old-fashioned kind that destroys pictures rather than preserves them.
One of the things that I can across were pictures of homes or apartments that I had lived in during my adult life - after graduating from college.
The first apartment was at Wendover Glen in Charlotte (North Carolina). At Wendover Glen, there were two different units that I lived in. The first one faced the woods while the second one faced the street (across from which there was a crack village. Literally. The neighborhood was a very rough one...and certainly one that I felt like I needed to drive through quickly as I made my way to work).
Shortly after moving in, Hurricane Hugo hit the eastern coast and the strong winds and rain made the whole apartment complex look like it was painted with leaves. The sides of the buildings, the windows, the vehicles in the parking lot - everything - was covered with green leaves.
The best part of the apartment:
French doors leading to a small patio.
In the middle of the night, the wind was so strong it snapped a tree in half in the woods - not more than 20 feet from the apartment. Having not lived in an area where there were hurricanes, it was certainly an interesting (and memorable) experience.
Home is a shelter from storms - all sorts of storms.
~William J. Bennett
The second apartment was on Locksley Avenue in San Francisco. 9L...I think that was the apartment number. The apartment was on the 9th floor facing Mt. Sutro - and offered a great view of the fog rolling in each afternoon.
The apartment complex at the top of the road.
The most attractive feature about the apartment: the fact that it had steel construction to help steady the apartment during an earthquake. This was very important because there was a major earthquake in the Bay area in 1989 - a couple years before moving there.
The bridge that had collapsed was still being repaired. It was a sobering reminder of the power of earthquakes. So, having a more "sturdy" apartment was important...plus they took dogs.
The light is what guides you home,
the warmth is what keeps you there.
One of the challenges of living on the 9th floor (second floor from the top floor) was that often the elevator was slow to arrive. That meant that after work I would rush home to let Sydne (the golden retriever) out. We waited patiently for the elevator. If it was more than a few minutes, Sydne and I would walk quickly down 9 flights of steps to go outside. It was a good workout, I guess.
Moving day from San Francisco to Minneapolis.
The next move was to a small, starter home in Minneapolis. This picture was taken in the spring after moving in because there isn't a fence around the backyard (one of the first of many improvements made to the home to keep the dog safe and give a bit more privacy).
First home in Minneapolis.
See that concrete driveway? Since it came out next to the house (rather than the middle of the block), everyone thought it was a driveway. It wasn't. It was the alley entrance. Needless to say, the first time a car drove slowly by the kitchen window (to the left of the side door), I was shocked. Curtains went up shortly thereafter.
Within the first six months of living at the Minneapolis home, it was time to begin looking for another home further out from the city. Living under the constant noise of airplane traffic was a bit stressful. Some of the planes flew so low that I could read the numbers on their sides.
I had rather be on my farm than be emperor of the world.
After much searching, there was a tiny five-line advertisement in the paper for a home in the country. The real estate agent warned that it was "far out...it's a very long drive from the city" and that the "floors slope...it's an old country home."
Pulling up into the driveway when the real estate agent showed the home for the first time, my immediate reaction was, "This feels like home." And it has been...for over 15 years years now (16 in September 2011).
The home in the middle of winter.
The home was built in 1890, with a 600 square foot addition built in 1999 (it's on the left side of this picture) where there's a seam in the siding. (The home has been re-roofed and re-sided due to storm damage from two major storms a couple of years ago, so it looks a bit more "cohesive" now that there isn't a siding seam in the front.)
This is the home where I've lived the longest in my life - even longer than the homes of my childhood. I lived in North Minneapolis (the Camden area) for 8 years, and then moved to Plymouth (Minnesota) for the next ten years.
As I look back on the pictures of the apartments and home, I still consider the present farm home (the last one pictured above) as my home. (The home in Plymouth has been my parents' home since 1974, and one that I consider my childhood home.)
Peace - that was the other name for home.
The underlying characteristic of both of these homes is that they are in peaceful, quiet surroundings. Nature (birds and wildlife) as well as water are present (a lake, in the case of my childhood home; a pond in the case of the farm home). Both homes have provided comfort, solace, and a sense of retreat. They've been a source of inspiration and creativity.
Both homes are filled with memories...ones that are happy, funny, and filled with laughter. And, as with any home, some memories that are more challenging or sad. But, in life there are both pleasant and difficult times. It's the comfort and security of the home which helped minimize the difficult times and help bring the positive memories to the forefront.
Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do...
but how much love we put in that action.
~ Mother Teresa