Editor’s Column: There’s No Place Like Home?



In my family, the phrase, “Maybe we should move,” has been tossed around on a whim for years. Whether joking or contemplative, I’ve never actually taken it seriously – it was just one of those things that my parents would occasionally talk about, but never actually go through with. How could they? This was our house they were talking about leaving.

The same house that my Dad had practically built. The same house that had seen birthdays, holidays, bad days, good days, all days. Even when they began visiting open houses over the summer, it was never with much commitment, so I never seriously considered the possibility of leaving my childhood home behind. And as they say, out of sight, out of mind. I came back to Colgate from winter break and the whole moving situation remained back home. I didn’t think anything of it.

That is, until my parents called over the weekend and told me that they were bidding on another house. Suddenly, the moving situation was no longer hypothetical. It was happening.

And the thing is, I know this could be a lot worse. They’re bidding on another house, but it’s not one that’s in a different state or a different county or even a different school district. Truth be told, the house they’re looking at is five blocks away from the one I live in now. So what am I complaining about, you ask? Well, think about it. Imagine going home – the place that’s supposed to be your haven, your greatest comfort zone – and not even knowing the floor plan. Imagine not knowing the street, or your neighbors, or where to find anything because when your parents unpacked, you weren’t there. Imagine sleeping in a room that’s “yours”… except that you’ve never been in it before. Imagine opening a door, expecting to find a bathroom and finding a closet instead. This is your home. This is your greatest comfort. So for me, those five blocks might as well be five million. This new house is strange and foreign and not mine. When I leave Colgate, I want to go home – to my street, to my house, to my room. The next time I leave Colgate, I may not have that luxury.

They say when you go to college, it becomes a second home. That’s fine. As far as second homes go, I think we’ve all made out pretty well. As much as I love it here, however, it’s not my first home and I had never expected it to be. But now I’m discovering that I might end up knowing Colgate better than I do my house. After all (as my mother was oh-so-kind-enough to point out), I’ll be spending more of the year here than I will there. Does it really matter, then? When it counted, when I was growing up, I had the home that I knew and loved. But was that really when it mattered? I found myself asking whether that was really the time that counted, or whether now, when I actually needed a place to “come home” to, is the more crucial time. Or is this all simply part of growing up? As my mother also found it necessary to point out, the Real World is not far off, and while I would always have a place in our house if need be (“Though with the amount of money we’re spending on your education, I certainly hope you’ll be able to afford your own housing.”), I’m no longer a child. Soon enough, I’d be finding my own new home, my own new job, my own new life. In the end, does this whole concept of “coming home” for two more summers and assorted breaks really matter?

I haven’t yet decided how to feel about this no-longer-hypothetical move. Should I abandon my childhood home and do as both my sisters have done and simply celebrate the fact that I’d be getting a bigger room? Should I forget about this “having a place to come home to” rubbish and deal with the fact that I’m going to be out of that house soon anyway? In any case, I figure I’ll cherish what time I have left in my childhood home. Letting go is not as easy as it seems.