My Nana passed this evening. Everyone is on their way, hospital first, house second. We always gathered in her house around the wooden kitchen table.
It was designed to seat four, but there was always room for one more plate, glass, a pulled up chair. It’s fitting to come here. Gather here.
My nana was a special person, but this blog isn’t about special people. It’s about houses, or more importantly, the sense of place you feel within a home. Most of my life I was a nomad, staying out late, finding a better place to be. Renting dumpy apartments I moved from every four to six months to army housing to buying a townhouse. So far, none of these feel like my Nana’s home. None of them had a kitchen table everyone instinctively went to for comfort or cheer or celebration. None of them had an open door with a zillion keys given to friends and family. None of them had a fridge stocked with the special food people liked, or refrigerators covered with photos from years of memories with loved ones.
The house is old, with creaky sighs from the six kids who grew up here. Original breadboard paneling, wood floors. Comfortable in a way old houses are, lived in, worn a little, accepted for their quirks and even loved for them. Nothing works a hundred percent. The drains are slow, the water not always hot, it took me a while to figure out if the tea kettle actually whistles or simply makes a whoosh to tell you the water is ready for tea in a mug found in a handmade wooden cabinet.
Nothing here is expected to be perfect, people included. Then the imperfect people gather around the kitchen table and tell stories and laugh at the memories and life and the imperfect moments and you can see that here, in this place, everything is exactly as is should be.
It is home, anchored by the kitchen table.