Do you have a “family home”? Is your family home a place where your family has lived for many years, perhaps many generations?
Our family moved a number of times during my childhood, including relocating from Sydney to Grafton, on the New South Wales North Coast. We lived in 5 different homes, 2 in Sydney, then 3 in Grafton, before I left at 17 to go and live back in Sydney.
Building the dream
After my brother and I had left, our parents sold their larger farm and built Dad’s dream home on 5 acres, closer to town. I say it was Dad’s dream home because he had some very definite ideas about what he wanted in the home and let’s just say his Italian heritage began to really show through when it came to the décor. Mum and I tried to persuade him not to put red glass in the stained glass back door, but he insisted. Mum was furious! I still smirk whenever I see that door – he got his way and the red glass remains!
Dad planned and built the family home at great expense. The home took more than two years to construct and cost around $500,000! That was a shipload of money back in the mid-1980’s!
The showcase home is large, solid and built of double brick with cedar-lined verandas on three sides. Inside, there are cathedral ceilings, which are all lined in cedar and beautiful leadlight windows and doors – all handmade. There’s a multitude of garages and outbuildings – a farmer’s dream. The post-and-rail fencing, which encompasses the 2-acre house paddock, was also completely handmade too.
The next generation
Sadly, Dad’s been gone for 10 years now. My brother and his family have lived in the home for most of that time, and they made it their family home. But now it’s time to sell it and downsize.
While I understand my brother’s decision to sell, I still find it hard to let go of this place. The house is just so full of Dad. After he passed away, I found it quite difficult to visit at first. I found myself waiting to see him walk down the hallway, or come in from the garden… such familiar sights.
Dad was a prize-winning gardener with garden beds chock full of beautiful blossoms, abundant vegetables, heavily laden fruit trees and flourishing shrubs all around the property. Whenever we visited, he would load us up with fresh produce, bunches of flowers and sometimes, homemade jams or tomato relish made from the fruits of his labour.
A place to call home
Being at the farm has always given me a sense of belonging. It made me feel safe, even at times when things weren’t so perfect in the outside world. When I lived in Sydney, I used to go home and lie on the lush green grass and just enjoy the feeling of the fresh clean environment – and the peace! Oh how I loved the peace of the farm as a contrast to the bustle of city life.
Although I haven’t lived in my hometown for over 30 years, I still think of it as home. We will continue to go back to Grafton to visit my brother and some of our friends, but it will be strange not to have the family home as our base. Perhaps my sense of what “home” is will change….
What does home mean to you? Is it a place? Or is it simply wherever your family or loved ones are?
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