Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Homes and Lessons Learned Along the Way

I have been thinking a lot about houses this week.  I believe that is because our current home is offering challenges which has got me to contemplating what it is that I want in my home.

There have been a number of homes that I have grown up in, that I remember with great fondness.  And, yes,  I have grown up in each and every one...and learned valuable lessons along the way.

My first home was othe one my dad built on Harlton Crescent in Toronto.  It was a large two storey home.  My brother and I shared a bedroom upstairs.  It was in this home that I learned survival tactics.  As hurricane hazel headed towards Toronto, adults whispered the news and concerns.  My brother heard a lot more than I did...thankfully so, for that night he diligently tied my kimono strap to my wrist and secured as many of my toys as possible so that when our parents came up to carry us to safer ground, our treasured toys would be dragged along with us.  Many lives were lost that night.  Our family, personally, knew many.

For a short time, my grandparents lived in our basement after selling their home.  I dearly loved them both.  Surrounded by such a loving family, this home always felt safe, and warm.  I learned the value of a loving family.

We moved when I was eight years old, to Etobicoke.  I grew up on Moford Crescent, and when I left to study nursing, I did not move back home.  I eventually married, and moved to Pinegrove, near Woodbridge, along the banks of that same river that claimed so many lives when Hurricane Hazel hit.

My first home was 107 years old.  It had charm and character.  It had flaws but I loved that home in spite of the fact that it needed a lot of work, and wasn't perfect.

My mother hooked this picture of that home...

My marriage wasn't perfect either but for many years we loved each other.  I this home I learned acceptance, patience, and tolerance.  I fell back upon the survival tactics I had learned so many years ago.

We moved up to Milford Bay and into a home that was to be our forever home.  Unfortunately, that was not to be, and my children and I moved into Bracebridge after the sale of our home in Milford Bay. I worked hard and supported my family on one income.  I developed a strength of character and a strong resolve, and again fell back on survival tactics learned along the way.

Along the way, I met hubby and my family grew.  When my children moved on, the house was no longer needed, so we packed up and moved to Beaverton to be closer to my dad, and to shorten Wayne's drive to work.  We purchased my parents home.  I learned that less IS more, and after 8 years, started looking for something smaller...which brings me to where I am now.

We went for a drive one day, saw a small house on the Talbot River, and fell in love.  It was a cottage that had been winterized, sitting on peirs.  The grounds were beautiful...and we were separated from neighbors by large lots.  A beautiful farm was in our backyard, where horses and llamas and sheep grazed.  There was even a large deck with a screened in room.  What more could one possibly want?

We were challenged that first year, by a septic tank which was not up to code and did not work.  After having the tank pumped 10 times we decided to fix the problem...and we did at tremendous cost.  I have to tell you, though, nothing beats a toilet that flushes.

This winter we have been challenged again.  Because of the severe winter we have had, our house has shifted, and there have been many, many times that we could not get our doors properly closed.  (Thank goodness we moved from electric heat!). We decided that perhaps our house should be raised a block or two, but the thought of putting out thousands of dollars again brings me to where I am going with this post.  

Three years ago I fell in love with this little cottage on the river with all it's imperfections and quirks.  I would have been happy if we hadn't changed a thing.  Was the winter really all that bad?  We managed.  Do I really need to raise this house, or can we get by with looking at the peirs, insulating properly and just dealing with the moving of the house?

This home has personality.  It has character.  It is alive.  It inhales and exhales, winter and spring.  

I am learning how to let go of the need for perfection, and to be satisfied and happy with what I have.  I believe that this house offers everything that I need.  It is a gathering place for family.  It is a port in a storm....a soft place to land.  I really do love it, and I think I will stay.

Could I live here alone?  There is no need to think about that right now, but should that time come, I will draw upon every lesson offered by every home I have lived in along the way.  All I know is that this is my home, and where I most want to be.


  1. You should have some kind of College degree from all your house experience. I still live in the first house I bought. I've lived in many houses on a temporary basis and not enough to think about the house. Good luck with this project.

    1. Yes, red, you are right! I have lived in a number of homes along the way...but I think I love this one best!

  2. Dear Wendy... Once again I identify with your musings about your homes ... and your philosophy about living a full life. Your words... in every phrase and paragraph accentuate and corroborate the peaceful essence of one's need for a "roof overhead."

    A home is not just a house. A home is a place... as you have so beautifully related that:

    "It is a place for a gathering of family... a port out of the storm... a soft place to land".... AND... it is purse of sorts... which carries the most significant coin of our realm - Memories!

    God fill your home with rich blessings!

    Warmest regards,

    1. Thank you, Bruce, for visiting, and for your very kind words!