Tuesday, November 9, 2010

My Home Sweet Home, Luke Dierker

Luke Dierker
American Geographies
My Home Sweet Home
For awhile I was undecided about what inside place I would right about. It seemed to me that writing about my home would be too easy and far too overdone. However, last Tuesday I went home for an evening and the simple act of walking through the front door made it clear that I could not right about any other place. I have a unique view of my house, though, because it seems like just a very short time ago that I can remember having no attachment to my home. So instead of talking strictly about why my house is a place, I want to also explain how my house went from being a space to a place for me.
My house is a ranch style house that sits on 141 acres. It has cedar siding with an attached garage. Generally, we come in through the garage into the kitchen. The kitchen, the dining room and the main living room are basically all just one long room. There are two bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs as well. Downstairs there is another living room as well as a bedroom and bathroom. Now, all of these rooms make up my home, but just six years ago they had no real meaning to me. They were just the rooms in the house of our neighbor. We had moved into the smaller house on his property four years earlier with the intention of buying it. Towards the end of my freshman year my parents did just that. I remember the first time I got to see more of the house than just the living room. Naturally I was excited to be moving into the house but there was no emotional attachment to it. Simply being in the house certainly did not give me the sense of calm and security that walking through the door does now. The first night I stayed in the new, empty house, before we had moved our stuff in, I remember being scared. Now, in the same living room, I feel more secure than anywhere on earth.
I read on howstuffworks.com that smell is the sense that is most closely tied to memory. I had not experienced this until the Tuesday that I went home to visit. When I walked through the kitchen door, the smell of pumpkin pie was the first thing I smelled. I have never had an emotional reaction to the smell of my house. I didn’t cry or laugh, but inside of me I felt like I was home and I did not want to leave. I just looked at my mom and said, “It smells amazing in here. Its good to be home.” I have never walked into a house and felt so strong a connection to a space. The interesting thing that I have thought about leading up to writing this is how different this reaction was than the first time I walked through that very same door. In the span of six years, this house had evolved from a space, devoid of any emotional attachment, to a place that made me feel like I never wanted to leave just from the smell of my kitchen. Its amazing to think what six years of memories can do. Bachelard describes memories as snapshots in time. There is no sense of time in memories, as odd as that may seem, rather, they are more concretely tied to the setting in which they took place. I can think of many memories that happened in my house as most people can. I can’t always recall the exact time in which they happened but the setting of my house or the where, say, the Christmas tree was when the memories took place is vivid. All of these snapshots and memories are a part of the evolution of my house from a space to a place. Even the memory of that first night in the house is a part of my emotional experience there. The day that I walked once again through that same kitchen door to find that the kitchen was engulfed in flames has also become something of a fond memory. All of these memories, even the ones that seem insignificant, or the ones that seem somewhat tragic, have made this collection of rooms into my home.
In the last six years, my house has gone from being a space to a place. It’s not something I have thought about, until writing this paper, but it is something that has been very interesting to think about. Since I have moved into that house I have gone from having no emotional connection to it, to feeling a deep sense of comfort and security simply from walking in and smelling my mom’s pumpkin pie. This is the result of years of memories and experiences built up in that house. Snapshots that evoke an emotion that gives that house special meaning. They have made that house my home sweet home.

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