Houses of ill-repute, houses of correction, houses of cards, houses of worship, house rules, House of Commons. We ‘house’ things and people in what we hope is a secure and comfortable environment. But what defines a home versus a house and when does that transition occur?


  1.  Lancy Court
  2. Greentree Lane
  3. Main Street New London
  4. The Trailer in KY
  5. 225 East Cherry Olney IL
  6. McClelland Street, San Fernando Trinidad
  7. First house in Jakarta
  8. Second house in Jakarta
  9. Court Street, Newburyport
  10. Yellow House Newburyport
  11. Brighton
  12. South End
  13. Littleton
  14. Lunenburg
  15. Temple

Houses, homes, places I nested, lived and grown. Fifteen postal addresses, driveways and gardens. I only count the homes where I received mail. My mother and I were inveterate letter-writers back in the day before email. A home was where the bills, the Christmas and Birthday cards, the thank-you notes and letters from Mom found me.

Each time I moved, certain items went with me. Many remained packed for our next incarnation together, but there were a few that have had a prominent place in each address. For sixty years a few simple toys and mementos have been a part of my daily scenery, even if I don’t really look at them regularly. They are part of the fabric, the wallpaper the texture of my home.

Each house was its own chapter, a stepping stone, when I look back at life. Each a place where a different me existed, and developed into the me I am today. Going back to an address is never as comforting as the memories. New inhabitants have put their own mark on it and some no longer exist at all. The “home” of each house exists only in my mind.


“Houses Of The Holy”

Let me take you to the movies. Can I take you to the show
Let me be yours ever truly. Can I make your garden grow

From the Houses of the Holy, we can watch the white doves go
From the door comes Satan’s daughter, and it only goes to show. You know…

Led Zeppelin March 1973


21 thoughts on “Houses

  1. I’m always learning, and am just recently thinking about how we define home. Some people enjoy transitions, some people pick a spot and stay. Hope your home is filled with happiness (even when you’re feeling a little devilish;))

  2. Bloom where you are planted – has been my watchword after five homes and 7 temporary homes. it has advantages and disadvantages both ways, but I strongly feel that I am better for it too and that I feel more comfortable thinking, I must go and speak with people, not wait and hope, fit in and maybe add something even if only for a short time. My sense of permanence comes from the family. Guyanese as well as British.

  3. Martha, I love this post … and can SO relate to your sentiments. I had read about many of your living locations, but I must admit I’m curious about the Trailer in KY – since I’m in KY now. 🙂 ~Terri

    • You are so funny Terri! Before we were married Roger and I spent several months in a trailer with two of his co-workers in Morganfield, KY. It was primarily a coal and oil town. Lovely spot!!

      • My parents moved around a lot as kids, myself less so, and our kids have only ever known this current house which they don’t look like ever moving out of – although we don’t mind them and all their friends coming and going.

      • Enjoy them while they want to be near you, Mark. I love having my girls back on the east coast and though they have known several “homes” they always say home is where I am!

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