The Gallery: Home

I've lived in four different properties in my 34 years, but up until August 20th last year only one of them was 'home': the house that was my childhood home.

My parents' old house was the home that I was welcomed into by my elder siblings when I was brought home from the hospital at a few weeks old. The four-bedroomed Victorian property was quite large and suited the six of us well. With my eldest brother being twelve years older than me, there was a hierarchy of bedrooms as and when people moved out. Eventually I had the prize possession: the room with the balcony down to the garden, with the original coving, picture rails and skirting (from 1889) and the huge wall of windows looking out onto the garden.

I moved out of that house when I was 23, the day after I found out the results from my degree. My (then) fiancé whisked me away up to Reading to start our new life, and four months later we were married. Our first home was a two-bedroom rented flat which was lovely and spacious. After being there a year, we bought a three-bedroom ex-council house nearby which was cwtchy and we were both very fond of.

However, the yearning for my home-town was kicking in and I was getting more emotional each time we had to leave my parents' house after visiting them. We took the decision to move and start again back here, in the town that I grew up in with friends and family nearby. Three years almost to the day after I left, we moved back into my parents' house, this time with the contents of our three-bedroomed house.

It was hard-work living back with my parents after three years of independence and 'growing up' but I'm so grateful to them for giving us the opportunity to stay rent-free for a year and a half while we set up our new house. We've owned this place now for nearly seven years and have lived in it for six years. However, it wasn't until my parents moved out of my childhood home last year that this really became 'home'.

My parents' house held many happy memories for me over the years, some not so great, but the vast majority were magical. I could look at any room, any square foot and a wealth of memories would come flooding back to me: play-fights, real fights, birthday parties, Christmases, etc.

These photos were taken on the day that my parents moved out. I was the last person to leave and shut the front door, and I sobbed.

What I've realised since is what so many others may know; home is not a building, it's the love that is shared and memories that are made within.

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  1. says

    I had the sam eexperience of thinking of my parent's home (my childhood home) as home until they sold it and moved to thier retirement flat nearby. Now my home has to be home as there isn't any other that I've lived in.

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      Exactly how I feel. And my parents new house is their home but not my home. Interestingly, their old house isn't my home anymore either. I had to go and pick up some post from there when the new tenants were remodelling the interior; it looked nothing like mum and dad's and I felt happy at that. That house lives on in my memories.

  2. says

    I have such fond memories of my childhood home. In fact, if I walk past it now (and I have no reason to, other than to just be nosy) it stirs hugely nostalgic feelings in me. I totally understand what you mean – a lovely post :)

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      Thank you, them leaving there broke my heart but at the same time it was probably necessary. Made me appreciate my own now even more.

  3. says

    Awww you're making me well up. My parents are moving out of my childhood home in less than a fortnight, we're having our last Sunday roast round there this weekend. Very sad. Lovely post though, and so true that home isn't a building, it really is the people and the memories within it x

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      Oh dear, I remember that feeling. I hope your roast went well today and you enjoy absorbing the memories there. Good luck!

  4. Jenny Paulin says

    You are so right a home is what you make it – its whats on the inside with the people you share it with that's important. it's funny how the homes that were familiar to you growing up have such a special place in your heart. I guess our children will think the same of the ones they share with us in the future x

  5. paula says

    Awww what a lovely post. My parents still live in my childhood home and its always lovely going back and reliving memories! X

  6. circusmum says

    That is such a lovely post. My parents home felt like home for years after I moved out and to an extent it still does.

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      It was very important that we all had it in the end. The final person to have it, after I moved out, was mum! She had to wait thirty years!

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      That's really comforting to have her closeby. Our childhood homes and gardens are so memorable aren't they?

  7. mum2babyinsomniac says

    I have never experienced that feeling and very much believe that home can be anywhere with the right people but I can imagine that it would be very sad. If all of your memories are formed in one place and then you lose it then I think it can justify some tears x

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      Thanks, it is very emotional. I agree that home can be anywhere with the right people, but my mum had lived there for 43 years so every big event in our lives was centred around that property.

  8. Mammywoo says

    I'm totally welling up here. Such a different experience from my own but you write so well I totally understand. I think that's what I'll be a little like when I leave this flat. I've been here 7 years, the longest I've lived anywhere and have so many lovely memories. Great post x

    • TheBoyAndMe says

      Thanks lovely, the house was such an anchor for my life. I felt a bit lost at sea when the rope was cut!

  9. Mum2Four says

    I always referred to the house that I grew up in as Home until My Dad sold it a few years ago, this was despite having a house of my own & children.

    When my Dad sold the family home it was awful as it held so many memories of wonderful times growing up – it made me realise though that now it was my turn to help build those memories with my children and give them a house they could call home.

    My house is now my Home as it is filled with much love & happiness.

  10. says

    I can so relate to this — having just spent a week cleaning out my childhood home (where my mother had lived for 54 years!) and preparing it to be handed over to new owners. I, too, was the last one out and I stepped through those empty rooms, each one – as you note above – speaking to me of the stories and memories that happened there. And when I turned that doorknob for the last time I and wept, too.

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