It feels like going back in time, doesn’t it? When you return to a place that you considered your home? For many of us, there is more than one place that was a home.
When you are living in a motor coach, home is where you park it.
“I have learned that if you must leave a place that you have lived in and loved and where all your yesteryears are buried deep, leave it any way except a slow way, leave it the fastest way you can. Never turn back and never believe that an hour you remember is a better hour because it is dead. Passed years seem safe ones, vanquished ones, while the future lives in a cloud, formidable from a distance.” ― Beryl Markham, West with the Night
During our married lives, we lived in four houses. Two of them in London, Ontario. One near Toronto, Ontario and our last house in Kingston, Ontario.
This was our first house as a married couple. In London, Ontario. We started our family here and we quickly outgrew the place. It was tiny. I think we had maybe 600 square feet of living space on the top two floors plus a little room in the basement. We lived there for a few years. Not long.
We then made a really big decision. We built our next house. Also in London. For whatever reason, I thought we would be in London for life. I had graduated from Western University in London, I had a successful career in Information Technology at one of Canada’s largest insurers, London Life, in London and we loved the city.
Whisperwood Avenue. Our forever house. Forever being 10 years.
London Life was acquired by Great West Life and we made the difficult decision to leave the city after spending almost 20 years there. At that time, I would have considered London our home.
I joined one of Canada’s largest banks, the Bank of Montreal, in Toronto. We left London. We bought a MacMansion north of the city. This one.
We lived there for 10 years. I never bonded with the place. It never felt like home. I missed London deeply during those 10 years.
Being in the Toronto area, that house is valued at far more money than anyone should ever pay for a house. But we sold it when I decided to become a Chief Information Officer for another Canadian insurance company, Empire Life.
And we moved the family to a beautiful country property on seven acres just north of Kingston, Ontario.
I loved it here. So much nicer than Toronto. Quiet. Peaceful. It always felt like coming back to a vacation retreat. London was no longer missed. In fact, I can hardly remember the years in London now.
Our kids started to leave home to make their own lives as adults during our time in Kingston. Retirement started coming up quickly. Suddenly entire areas of the house emptied. Too big a place for just the two of us. It began to feel like it was holding us captive.
We sold it and moved into our current house. This one.
We went from 7,000 square feet to 450 square feet. Talk about downsizing huh?
We are back in Kingston for the week to catch up with our oldest son and his wife.
I never confused a house with a home. Home is where my family is gathered. And home continues to be where my family gathers. It could be with my daughter and her family in their house. It could be with my youngest son in his apartment. Or with my oldest son and his wife in their house. Most of the time it is with my wonderful wife and my golden retriever in our coach.
I wondered whether I would miss Kingston the way that I had missed London back in the day. I don’t. Good to be back but our lives are in a new pattern now.
“Never believe that an hour you remember is a better hour.” The hour that you and I have right now, especially with our loved ones, is the best hour ever.
A house is just a house.
Or a coach.
Hi Richard & Lorraine,
Wow, it really takes me back to see your first house! I remember small group meeting there! So glad that you remain content with your decision to ‘downsize’.
Going back now almost 35 years for that first house. Loved being in London. To be honest, we haven’t noticed that much of a difference between having a house and not having one largely due to all the travelling. The past year has felt more like an extended sabbatical. Happy, wild and free 🙂
I remember the last three of these homes with fond memories. Not sure you are finished yet.
Never say never huh? 🙂