HOMEBy Grandma Ellen
A place where you can be yourself, where you can let go of the veneer you may need to go about in the world.
HOME is the one thing that’s constant in lives that are far-flung.
HOME means warmth, comfort, children, a wife’s wonderful cooking.
HOME is where my heart is, and where I lay my head down.
HOME is a refuge, my refuge from the world at large, where I can be at ease.
HOME is a cocoon that envelopes you, that enables you to feel safe.
HOME means many things to different people, but for me home brings an emotional response every time I enter my doorway, a response that I do not experience anywhere else.
HOME is the place where, when you show up unexpectedly, they have to take you in.
These thoughts on the notion of “HOME” were shared with me by the cherished ones in my life:
A friend from Argentina who makes her home in Boston
A cousin in Peru, originally from St. Louis
A friend of 51 years’ duration in Missouri, who lives mostly with her significant other in his house, but keeps her own condo
My son and daughter-in-law
My dear husband
Dear friends in Baltimore
And someone I know personally not at all, the poet Robert Frost.
As I contemplate these thoughts on “HOME”, I am struck by the total lack of reference to a physical structure. To each one of these, my nearest and dearest, HOME is an idea, a concept, an emotion, a place in the mind and in the heart.
My cousin in Peru, the wife of a Peruvian and a resident of Lima for thirty years, thinks of her adopted land as HOME. It is Peruvian warmth and hospitality and the South American notion of friendship that are deep within her bones and heart now. These she would not trade for a return to the U.S., her attachment to which is only a distant memory.
Lidia, my friend from Argentina, a resident of New England for thirty years now, is more conflicted about where her head and her heart call HOME. She does feel that she has found a refuge in the United States one of the few places on this earth where there is more freedom “to be” your own self, more respect for the individual, a society more concordant with her own feelings of each and every human being’s rights and her own values. She grew up during the period of the Junta in Argentina, where men, women and children were arrested for no reason and became part of “The Disappeared”, never to be seen or heard from again. (A magnificent evocation of this period was set down in a novel by Nathan Englander titled “The Ministry of Special Cases”.) But Lidia misses the sights, smells and friends of her native country. They still resonate in her heart, and she misses them. But she fell in love in this country; she married and had children – American children – here, she has forged an incredibly successful career as an academic physician at a prestigious medical center, and she feels at ease in the United States. And feeling at ease is one of her definitions of HOME.
I thought that my friends’ notions of HOME would include the house they had been searching for long years and had finally found; the objects in such a house that they had chosen to surround themselves with; or the beauty of the land around them. But, clearly, HOME is clearly and simply a Place in the Heart.
Ellen Baron is a wife, mother and grandmother who has had three distinctive careers:
1) as an editor at an educational laboratory;
2) as a businesswoman who ran a private-label group at Black & Decker, and then served as Director of Marketing for a consumer electronics start-up company; and
3) as an academic administrator who was director of a post-baccalaureate business program.
Her 'Just Jobs' (as opposed to "Careers") included piano teacher and French tutor (her undergraduate degree from Washington University in St. Louis having been in French).
Now retired from both careers and jobs, Ellen serves on the Maryland State Attorney Grievance Commission, as well as the Boards of several non-profits. She has lived in England, Switzerland and Germany, as well as St. Louis, Boston, a suburb of Washington, D.C., and, now, Baltimore, MD.