Thursday, July 10, 2008

Home is Where the Heart Is

Source: Lewis Family Reunion, probably in Muskegon Co., Michigan. Photograph. C. 1924. Original photograph in the possession of Jeanne Holst Robbins, Fulton, Texas. 2008. Cropped reprint in the possession of Miriam Robbins Midkiff, Spokane, Washington. 2008.

I didn't know what I was going to write for the 3rd Edition of the "I Smile for the Camera" Carnival: Celebrate Home hosted by the footnoteMaven at Shades of the Departed. As a child, we moved around quite a bit, part and parcel of having parents who worked for The Salvation Army. I realized after living in my current house for six years that that was the longest I had ever lived at one address! My ancestors were awfully migratory, too. Even the homes in Michigan that my parents grew up in were not the homes that my grandparents lived in when we would visit them when I was a child. There isn't one location or old homestead that's been in my direct family line for generations, and I'm probably a pretty normal American in that respect.

So, then, what is home? If you read my profile, you'll read the following:
I consider three locations my "home" and blog frequently about them: Alaska (where I was born and grew up); Michigan (where most of my genealogical research takes place); and Eastern Washington (my residence since 1979).

All three of those places have a piece of my heart in them. Alaska is full of those precious and innocent childhood memories one carries through life...and one small grave of a little boy. Michigan contains happy thoughts of loving grandparents, doting aunts and uncles, and playful cousins, along with the deep, quiet knowledge that generation after generation of family have lived in this peninsula beginning from as early as the 1830s. Washington holds the physical homes of those I hold most dear: my immediate family, my parents, my siblings, my nephews and nieces, an aunt and cousins, numerous in-laws.

The home--or structure--in the photograph above may have been built by my carpenter 2nd-great-grandfather, George Emmett Lewis, who stands alone on the top step of the porch. Whether this was the Lewis home or not, this photograph symbolizes to me the idea of home: it's a place, whether a physical location (the old house or homestead), your memory (thoughts of times gone by), or a place in your heart (love for family and friends). Home is wherever your heart is!
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