I have been going through all my lists seeing if I could find someone to write about who’s name starts with H. I have not been thrilled with the ones I found. There is my cousin Hamish who is still living. I am trying only to do folks who are much older. Then there was Uncle Hugh Laughland who was married to Maisie who I met in England in 1967. He was a hoot, Was quite old and was still working in the pro shop of his golf club. Maisie had played tennis at Wimbledon when she was young and when Gr Grandmother found her smoking locked her in her room for quite a while since youth ladies of the Victorian Era did not smoke in public if at all. Those were the highlights of that visit and the bottle of sherry next to their chairs that they offered us a drink of. They were living in Cavendish Grove at the Towers which was the Laughland family home in Southampton England. My Grandfather who you will hear lots about later grew up ther.
But what I decided started with H that I liked was home. Home is special to me because I have never felt at home most of my life. When we were children we moved three times. Once from Buffalo to Seattle and then from Seattle to Scarsdale NY. For me each was worse than the one before.
Where was home? I guess it is where you live with your parents but what about hometown. That feeling that there is this special place you come from where there are family members and merchants who remember you and classmates. I know Home is where the heart is. But if that is true then my heart was always in Canada. That is the one place where when we went it felt like home. I had grandparents, tons of aunts and uncles and cousins and made friends there over the years. I mean who can forget Dougie James the first love of so many of us girl cousins.
I once tried to return to Buffalo for college and found out that was not home. My one friend there was not at home then and I did visit her parents but it was not what I had expected. I left when I was 9 and had imaginary beliefs about what going home would be like. NOT REAL….. Because of my time in Seattle I still have connections out there. And I think of the fun we had in Jr High School and that made it fun. But although I do have some distant cousins who live there it is not the same. No, the only constant place that always felt like home was KIngston Ontario. I can still go and sit outside my grandfathers house or my uncles house and think – wow, that is my mom’s house where she grew up and from where she married my father. I go to the Church and remember where the grandparents sat and can see them there in my mind. And the St. Mary’s Cemetery has the graves of my aunts, uncles, cousins, gr grandparents, and some great uncles and aunts. I feel connected when I am there. And no where else do those things exist.
My Dad’s dad wandered all over the place. I have never tried to count but I imagine my Dad moved almost every other year when he was growing up. There is no place that was home on his side of the family. My grandmother left her home when she was 16 and never went back as far as I can tell. My Grandfather left home at 18 and crossed the ocean to come to Canada to study at U of Toronto. He did go back to visit between 1915 and 1924 but even while in England they did not spend a great deal of time in Southampton. They were moving from church to church..
So, home, what is home? This house I am sitting in is my home and I hope my children have memories and feelings about this home. Their grandparents on my side are buried up the road although I doubt if they ever go there. And I imagine I will be eventually buried there as well and their dad. So hopefully this place feels a bit like home to my kids. A place they can always return to when they need comfort or support. But who knows. But my heart although here is also north of here on the other side of the border.
this picture is of the farm house of my gr grandfather Charles and the school house. I am not sure were my pictures of 193 Earl St is or of the house where my mom was born. so this will have to do for now