Monday, January 11, 2010

Home: Places of the Heart

Home in Starobilsk

My mind has been in Istanbul lately, but my visit is over and for all my musings I am happy to be back in Starobilsk. I missed my Ukrainian family and friends, and they missed me. They were eager to welcome me back and to hear about Istanbul. Luba and son Sergei greeted me with big hugs and warm smiles. Friends stopped me on the street. The English Club presented a loving poem. I had come home.

Actually, I've had several homes in my lifetime: in Rochester, Boston, Madison, Toledo, Washington, DC, Saint Petersburg. I make home wherever I am, and wherever I am is home.

Each of these homes represents a stage in my life: Childhood through high school in Rochester; college in Boston; graduate school in Madison; family, community life, and teaching women's history at the university in Toledo; community and humanities work in Washington; retirement in Saint. Petersburg; Peace Corps Volunteer in Chernigov and now in Starobilsk, my newest home.

I have loved all my homes. Toledo remains special because my children and grandchildren and great-grandson Philip live there. Wherever they are, my spirit is too. When I lived in Washington and Saint Petersburg, I couldn't wait for my next visit to Toledo, or for visits from my children and grandchildren. It's still the same. My heart is in Toledo.

But it is also with family and friends in all the places I have lived. My memories, my hopes, my dreams. The sad times and good times, the mistakes and the joys. They are chapters in a life, each with a story to tell.

I feel fortunate to have had so many wonderful homes. My mind wanders between and among all of them. They locate my memories. The geography of my life. Places of the heart.

1 comment:

  1. Hello Fran: Your journal musings have inspired me as I prepare for the journey. If all goes accordingly I will be arriving there from New Hampshire the end of March as a PCV trainee. I hope to meet you one of these days.
    Many blessings,