Saturday, October 22, 2011

Homeward Bound

It's Saturday night, and I'll be homeward bound in the a of the m.
I'm in a very bittersweet frame of mind.

I'm not entirely sure why I'm so drawn to empty homes.

But I am.
The older the better, the more dilapidated, the better.
I swear at times, I can smell dinner and hear the snap of the sheets blowing in the wind on the line.
Lives were started here, perhaps lives finished.
Dreams were born, stories were shared, storms - weathered.

Since the death of both my parents within months of each other,
nearly 10 years ago now - I've felt a bit like an empty home.

When we all left Chicago in 1988 - I realized I could never 'go home' again.
Quickly, my parents home in the suburbs of Illinois became ' going home' from my Indiana home.
After my parents' death - I quickly latched on to my mom's sister - my beloved Aunt Jean -
and her home in Missouri became 'home'.
I could still 'go home'.
I could still smell those familiar smells, and see those familiar faces, and cover up with that familiar quilt.

After her death in 2007 - her son's home - my cousin - became 'going home'.

I've been 'home' for the last six days, drinking in all the sights, smells, sounds and tastes that make me feel that I've 'gone home'.

This time tomorrow I'll be home home.
Home with my familiar smells, sights, tastes, sounds and my own quilts.
It makes me happy.
And sad.

In bittersweet times like these, I'm tempted to take off my rose colored glasses and
view the glass half empty.
I miss my parents.
I miss my aunt's and uncles.
I question my choice to be childless.

Maybe that's why I do love old abandoned buildings and homes so much.
I don't see the missing windows and doors falling off.
I don't see the roof falling in.
I see the joy that was, and could be again with some elbow grease.
I hear the laughter that rang through the halls, and the joy of Christmas mornings past.

I see joy.
I see hope.

And as I pull away from this home tomorrow to go to my other home - I will be filled with immense gratitude for the gift of rose colored glasses.


  1. Many moons ago I discovered your blog...I think another blog (maybe FPFG) referenced your pumpkin cake. Ironic considering your wonderful commitment to not eating such things; you look great, by the way. So when I first found your blog I loved that you had chickens - so does our family - and that you homeschooled your nephew - we homeschool. I quickly came to love your humor, laughing out loud as I read your blog and sharing tidbits with my husband! I just want to say what a joy your blog is and am thankful you share your heart with us out here on the web!

  2. Aw Jaime, that was a beautiful post. Abandoned homes make me very melancholy too. Your photos were especially gorgeous today. Have yourself a great evening. Hugs, Deb=^..^=x4

  3. I love your post. I feel the same. I build furniture from old doors and windows etc and always wonder what the home was like that these treasures came from. I am 47 and now have a two year old. I always thought that if I did not have children of my own I would either adopt older children or get involved with kids in some way. There are so many out there that need someone. I get the feeling from your posts that you would have so much to give......looking forward to your next post Sheryl

  4. I'm with you! Sometimes when I see an old home that has been abandoned I will just pull off the road and sit and look at it...and wonder...wonder how it ever came to be vacant and to be vacant so long that it fell into disrepair and then ruin.

    I think there are still some old souls floating around some of those buildings. It is their home to "come home" to.

    I lost my Dad when I was 21 and my Mom when I was 45. My brother kept the farm and one day the house burned down. It was sad for me because I never ever got to "go home" for one last time just to see the house...and now it is gone. I try not to think about it because I can remember the smell of apples cooking on the stove on a Fall day..and the smell of turkey on Thanksgiving..and Sunday dinner cooking on the stove for my Uncle that came for dinner every Sunday when I was a kid.

    Yep...I get it! And now I am tryign to create those same memories for the grandkids I have been blessed with. God bless you, Jayme, you dear old soul! xo Diana

  5. I feel much the same way as you about old houses. I always think about what once was or what could be?

    This post tugs at my heart strings...I feel for you!!!
    I live in the home I grew up in, but really home is people & I can't go 'home' to my Father cause he passed when I was 8 years old, but I see him in the barn & the farmhouse of my mind & it is good!

    AND 'good news' if our HOME is in Jesus we're HOME where EVER we go!

    Happy Trails!

    ~down 20.2. :)

  6. i often wonder where i can call "my home"? when i got married .. my hubby had already lived in the home we share now for about 5 or so years but he did have me help pick out things for the home. the tiles, flooring, cabinets, doors, windows out but it never really feel like my real home. but when i go home to my childhood home where mom & dad live that feel weird now ... like i'm an outsider looking in. i used to live there but not now. it is a weird feeling. but i understand what you are saying. i hope in time i will feel that this is my home. we will see. i so love you photos.(:

  7. What a post! It's one that really gets you to thinking . . .going home.
    Speaking of home, I don't know how you are traveling throught Missouri, but if you are taking Hwy 54 through Lake of the Ozarks and up to Jefferson City, give me a shout real quick and we can meet for coffee tommorrow!

  8. Very moving post!

    I am at the stage of life of having grown children and I almost felt guilty when we moved across the field to a new farm. I hope they still feel like this is coming home.
    I will have to discuss it with them.

    I suspect it coming to Mom and Dad's is the real 'coming home'.

    You have a lot to share; you would be a wonderful Mother.

  9. I hear it too Jayme. I do. In those old, empty, abandoned homes, I can hear life.

    Cindy Bee

  10. It's nice to read that so many feel the same way...what a beautiful post and photos. Like so many of those above, I've pulled over to sit and stare at empty homes. I've driven through overgrown driveways and even peeked inside some of those homes. I photographed one lovely old farmhouse...filled with beautiful old details, the hand-carved kind that no one puts on cookie cutter homes anymore...only to find it burned down days later. Call me silly, but I walked the remains,and found some architectural pieces to keep. I've stood on porch remains and envisioned the farmwife calling the family in for dinner. One old home was surrounded with blossoming lilacs...I gathered an armful. It seems a shame that these homes are left empty, when they could be the beginning of new memories for someone willing to give them a little love.

  11. Know that you are not alone in your feelings... we all long to be "home"- whatever that means to each one of us! Too, know that you are so blessed to be able to be so meaningful to Aaron and that you hold a very special bond in your heart with him- we don't always have to give BIRTH to be loved like a "mama"- and everyone can see the love for you that boychild has in his eyes for you! If you are ever driving through Kansas let me know- the little town (around 20 families)I live in is full of these old "full of life" empty houses! I am the same- I go for walks and imagine the families that once lived there and can hear the quilts being whipped in the wind- and often circle back around the block - just to get another peak in the window!! Good thing there are only 20 families in my town- because that means only 20 families think "I'm alittle coo-coo!!!" :0) Love the pics! And keep your head up- we will all on day be reunited with our love ones one fine day when we "go home"!! And what a celebration that will be!!

  12. I hear ya.....I too love old dilapidated empty houses.
    My mom lives with me, and when my dad died, the house was sold, so I can't go home, home. We just have to keep that place safe in our hearts.

  13. Such a poignant message . . . beautiful Jayme!
    It is comforting to know that there is someone else out there able to reminisce and reflect on the bitter and sweet of personal life and life of others.

    I too look at a house not lived in and reflect on what might have been . . .

    You have a "gift"!

  14. Jayme,

    This reminds me much of the post (poem) I did last year.

    I think our 'old homes' (as in going home) are carried inside us.

    Your Friend,

  15. Jayme, I am so glad I read your posting this am, before I truly get going for the day. The photos are beautiful, and your thoughts are expressed so well, likewise. Safe travels and enjoy "home", wherever that may be. Thank you...Teena

  16. Have a safe trip. Blessings abound don't they. Good for your Jayme. Gorgeous old buildings.

  17. I too am a lover of the old and abandoned (one look at my blog header and you'll see). I always have to stop and see and I too don't see the missing windows or crumbling structures but the *life* that used to be there!


  18. "You can never go home again" Thomas Wolfe, NC author wrote. Pretty true, I think. It's not the same once you leave. You can't go "back home" without remembering, reliving, rethinking the could have's, should have's, etc. You can't go home because "home" is where you are now.

  19. Oooh, check out the old chippy red paint! I'll bet that house was a real looker back in the day, one that I would have sighed each time I drove by and wished I lived there. It's cute even now. :-)

  20. Love these photos! and what a beautifully written post.

    As you know, we live in a very old home we re-claimed, as it was quite dilapidated. I often look at the old fireplace mantels and stones, the beams that hold it up.. and think of all the folks before us who may have leaned against them, depended on them as we do...

    "Oh, if these old walls could talk".

  21. When you can no longer go "home", you feel untethered, like anything can blow you every which way. I missed my daddy when he died back in 1990, but I still had mama to hold onto, until 2007. After then, I was unloosed and it still takes some getting used to.

    Did you ever notice how empty houses deteriorate faster than occupied houses? It's strange how folks living there just seem to breathe life into the actual dwelling.

  22. Oh my I am so there at that first house!!! I mean it.

    My husband would have to hold me back from going inside.

    I feel the same way!! :-)

    I feel the statements from your heart.

    Perfectly Melancholy.
    Love Carissa

  23. Me too! I love old, abandoned places. My mind begins to wander... imagining the past stories that would be told if walls could talk!

    I hope you have a safe journey home home!

  24. Hi Jayme, I thought of you when you said you were planning your trip and wondered how you would feel. I know you were close to Joplin and wondered if you would go there. I am so fortunate that my great-grandparent's home was not destroyed in the tornado. Even if I can't go inside it just knowing it's still there is something. So many people lost their homes and so much more on that day in May. I think we have much to be grateful for. I am grateful for our artist eyes and is painful sometimes though. Peg in Decatur

  25. I completely understand your fascination with them. I often wonder the same things! I always wonder why they became abandoned and why no one ever took them over. Seems sad to me, of course I am the type that feel sorry for toys that aren't being played with, so maybe it's just a thing I have with inanimate objects! Lol! So happy for you and all your success! I hope you know how often I think of you and how you bring such joy in my ordinary life! You've inspired me- down 55 lbs!

  26. Jayne, your thought post reminded me of the movie Under the Tuscan sun. The woman had her own journey into herself, while bringing back to like an old tired home. Only when she changed her thinking did the building become a home.
    Interesting connection.

  27. Hi Jayme. Ditto what everybody else said about old houses. My "home place" is with my people - my loved ones. No matter where they go, no matter where they live, that's my home. We live in an old little farmhouse built back in the 30's. My momma and daddy and sister come here (thankfully they are still with me) and they say my house reminds them of "home". It's all done and furnished with old stuff. I have alot of things that my momma and daddy grew up with. I hope my kids will always think that home is where their loved ones are, too. That can never be taken from one's heart. You be careful on your trip!

  28. Jayme,
    What a wonderful gift you have been blessed with. I always
    feel like I'm on the trip with you!
    The photos were beautiful and the memories of "going home" remind me to be ever so grateful that I still have my parents and childhood home just next door. Thank you for sharing with us. April

  29. I've been visiting with family this weekend and sharing memories as we view photos from our childhood and we have been dealing with many of the same issues you mention. Home is different for each of us, but the desire to return to a loving safe place filled with loving family seems a fairly common wish. Old houses (those are great photos) and old family photos seem to want to share their stories. Thanks for listening and sharing!

  30. This post really touched me. Beautifully put. I, too, love old, abandoned homes. I don't have the physical "homes" to return to anymore, but so grateful to still have them in my heart.

  31. Amazing photos! Old abandoned homes speak to me as well. I always wonder "what happened" or "who lived there and what were their lives like" ? Old houses have many stories.

  32. Beautiful post Jayme. Nice to know so many share my feelings about old homes... I always think about all the feet that have walked where I have on our old farm, or other abandoned ones... I talk with my kids about the many families and children and civil war soldiers that have been out in our fields. Our creek is supposedly named for an old Indian who fished here and was buried near bye. I love local history and family stories. New subdivision homes where children n cows once roamed make me cry.


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