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HOME


Rasmussen farm Old Rasmussen Farm, Dublin, CA.

We spend a large part of our lives trying to find our way home. The trouble is we don’t have the aptitude for it that cats do.

Taken in that context, what is Home?

It is not just a shelter with roof and four walls. It’s the place we feel most authentically ourselves. It provokes a yearning when we have lost it, or when we brush up against an old memory. I asked Dr. Advice to recall the feeling he had when he thought of his grandparents old farm in Dublin; not the house specifically, but the memory of family when he was there. It places “Home” in the realm of feelings.

I developed no strong memories from our travels during my early childhood, but the final years of high school while living in the house my great-grandfather had built in Alameda, CA, gave my first sense of continuity, of being a part of something larger than my immediate family.

In my first summer living with the Pueblo Indians in New Mexico, I began to feel a part of the Pueblo life as I roamed unchallenged through the villages with my friend and guide Georgia Abeita, making pottery and painting. The example of their quiet acceptance that life would continue as it had for timeless eons was contagious. That feeling never varied through the 40 years that Dr. Advice and I visited New Mexico and Arizona each year. I breathe the clear early morning air and feel that I may be close to home.

134 “Near Taos” watercolor painting by kayti sweetland rasmussen

099 “Pueblo Woman with Pot” Stoneware by kayti sweetland rasmussen

We each create our own version of Home. A favorite niece, mother of four, anticipating the future arrival of many grandchildren, insisted upon a very large kitchen sink, suitable for bathing babies. Having come from a large happy family, the concept of home included lots of babies, who would all grow to think of her house as Home.

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My excitement was strong upon arriving in Seattle in the 70″s and we took up country living for the first time. The old house and the barn we built with our own hands tied me to the property like nothing before had done. In the five years we lived there I grew to know and love the area like the back of my hand, but when the moving van had removed furniture from our old farmhouse near the Lake, a friend remarked that it had only taken a few hours to make a home a house.

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Though my father had loved the sea, he was eager to return to the place he had been born, and which he had left at the age of 18. So after nearly 30 years at sea he built a house in the countryside in Grants Pass, intent upon returning to the land. He bought a cow, a horse, some rabbits and some geese. A few years later the house burned to the ground, and I sensed that he had a certain feeling of relief. He was now free again to travel with my mother without the obligations that a brick and mortar house brought. The ownership of “house” did not give him the feeling of “home” that he had missed.

A few years later my mother missed having roots and the balance it had given to her life for a few short years, and went shopping alone one day and bought a house on the coast in Brookings, OR. I’m happy to say that my father adjusted to the idea that this tiny woman finally said “Like it or not, I’m through being a wanderer.”

Though a particular house or building is not the kind of Home I speak of, in many cases it may surely be a part of the feeling of home. Many years after I had married I felt the insult strongly when I returned to Auntie’s house and found it changed beyond my recognition. How dare the Intruders who stepped in and bartered my childhood memories?

We deposit much of our energy and love into making a home. Children come and go, friends enter and exit, beloved pets become part of the equation. The celebration of holidays, and of important life occasions, add patina. Happiness and some sadness both burnish and tarnish, forming the Whole of Life.

For the past 40 years we have lived in our present home. When we first arrived in our town of Centerville 60 years ago, it had a population of 6,000, now there are 225,000 people living here and it has become the city of Fremont, CA. We have become a part of the community and our roots have taken hold much as the trees and plants which make up our garden. This is Home.

Home truly is where the heart is. Where we achieve our balance.

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8 comments on “HOME

  1. Ohhh Kayti, how I LOVE this. sooooooo on the mark today..for some reason..SOO
    Sentimental today, know you understand !
    Must tell you .surgery on the hand for carpal tunnel..blah blah. Is done . Been 3 weeks and now trying to get back to at least reading your wonderful letters . Everything going well. Will write more later on but just HAD to say HI and I love you!!! Annnnnnnd Dr.
    Advice..hahah. lots going on …alll to the Good! Hope alll is well in your HOME. Xo
    Always,
    Joyce

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    • Joyce I was thrilled to hear from you! I’m so happy you have had your surgery and all is well. We DO need our hands don’t we? Glad to hear that you are well and happy. I think of you so often. Much activity here as well. Dr. Advice is difficult to hold down for more than 5 minutes! For him work is pleasure, and of course I keep limping along chasing after the Real Master of the house, Charlie! ox Me

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  2. I so enjoy reading your posts, they are so effortless and perfectly observed. This one especially so, thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Gil.Heavens. It’s always so pleasant to revisit one’s past. Even sorrow seems bearable in retrospect. The definition of “Home” has always intrigued me. So often we visit a place and think “I could live here!” Some people never find that warm feeling of Home do they? You have your magnificent gardens, and I can’t think of a nicer Home.

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  3. What an interesting life, Kayti !
    Home was anywhere we were, and it mattered not where. Now he is gone, home is where we shared his last years.

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  4. Home is always where your heart is M-R. Memory and Love is the most important part of “Home” isn’t it? I’m sure you went to so many interesting places together, a lifetime of good memories.

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  5. Somehow, I’ve developed a bit of a strange understanding of home. I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but I turned into a person for whom “home” was wherever I happened to be. It wasn’t an affectation or some sort of conscious decision. It’s just that, even if I was only ensconced in a motel for a night, when it came time to end dinnertime conversation and go back to my room, I’d say, “Well, time for me to go home.”

    As you might imagine, this could lead to a quizzical look or two.

    I’ve wondered if it hasn’t come about because of the traveling and moving from place to place I did. I became pretty good at feathering my nest and settling in — until it was time to pick up and go. My poor mother had quite the opposite view of things. For her, “home” was Newton, Iowa, where she’d lived for decades in the same house. When it came time to move her from that place (for we did move her against her will, if for her own good) it was like trying to pull someone out of the LaBrea tar pits.

    When I was working in hospitals and with quite ill patients, it was amazing to me how many expressed a desire to “go home.” Sometimes it was clear they were referring to a specific place. Sometimes, it clearly was a religious wish. Other times, it was hard to interpret exactly what was meant. But the hunger to be home clearly is universal, however it’s expressed.

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    • I’m a “nester” too Linda. Clearly we had to be moving as often as we did. My Mom was very good at it, while wishing and hoping for a static home. When asked where my “hometown” was I was at a loss. The longest place I had lived was 2 years and that in a family home, so after some thought, I figured that was probably my “hometown”. I envied Dr. Advice so much because his hometown of Oakland was the only one he had known until the War took him out of it. If you take a sentimental view, it’s probably the place you felt most comfortable, where you could stay forever.

      I have watched the transfer of elderlyu8 parents to places of safety a number of times, each bringing about much sadness and confusion. Too bad we have such uncertain endings to our lives. It usually begins with the loss of their car—equal to a loss of independence. That independence is what takes us out of ourselves and into the rest of the world. Keep exploring the world.

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