Wednesday, November 13, 2013

What is Home?

Home is a complex concept and that changes as we gain life experience. 

This topic was inspired by searching out places and homes we had lived in via Google Maps Street View.  You can imagine how powerful it was to see a home we  had not lived in for perhaps 40 years and re-experience a place they thought they would never see again. 


When I was 17 I never thought I would live so long.  87 years old.

My childhood, with my parents before the war was a life without worries.  A naive state, perhaps.  I was with my parents and I felt safe & secure.  I have always thought of this feeling as the feeling of what home is:  safe and secure.

When there was war, then home changed.  In a camp, separated from my parents.  It was not home anymore, it was horrors.

We would dream in the camps, of what it would be like when we got out.  What would we want. Most of us just wanted to eat.  A simple life, safe and secure.   What I know now is that I would never feel like I had a home the same way again.

We fled from the camp, as the front approached.   The commanders and guards fled before us leaving they left their rifles behind so we took the opportunity to flee.  We were afraid we would be taken back to the camp so we hid out, reunited with my parents.  They feared for my safety being 17 years old so they sent me with other Jewish children, to an Orphanage in Romania

After a few months we were reunited and we had to look for another home

I don’t think any of us ever felt safe and secure after all that we had seen.

My parents were very sick, not very old, but sick because of life in the camps.  Home was not the same.  There were more worries I had to care for them, though they wanted  desperately to care for me.

Then again a change, when I was married we moved to Israel and then to Canada.

I think if there had been no war we would have stayed put, had a home, but the war made us like nomads, always searching, never finding, that sense of home.

Reflections on Home

photo credit:  Sandi
Home to me is sharing my life with my 12 year old Pomeranian, Pinut who I have learned many lessons from, such as unconditional love; patience; kindness; caring; and much more. Pinut is champagne in colour. She looks like she has a mask on her tiny, sweet and endearing face. We are good buddies and seem to understand each other’s body language.

Home to me is a cozy condo townhouse which most of the time I enjoy. I enjoy my home because I feel safe and secure. My home is like a sanctuary as it is very calming and peaceful.

I have a small back yard, which was carpeted with yellow leaves from two large Poplar trees situated in my next-door neighbours’ yard…one on each side. Every year, I mindfully rake up the fallen leaves. As I raked up the leaves, I wondered if I would ever complete the job. This year, the job took about five hours from start to finish. I had to take a couple of brief breaks because of some pain…this happens as a person ages. I sat beside Pinut who immediately comforted me…that is the feeling of home. Finally, the job was completed. Hard work always gives me a feeling of accomplishment.

The next day the yard was carpeted with white due to the decision of Mother Nature to cover the ground with snow.

Home is many things to me. Home is a place where I can live with nature, with my wonderful partner in crime, Pinut and at times can be lonely. However, being alone allows me to learn how to be happy with whom I am. The hardest part of growing up at any age is learning to be okay alone and being happy with whom you are.

Home to me is a place of security and healing. I am very blessed.

Where I lived
Aron Eichler

When you say I home, I think of my family.  There were 5 children in our family.  One born in Russia, the others in Poland. Only 2 left.

Over the years we have traveled to many countries during the prewar years.    We were not overly wealthy but my parents had to move in order to support us, it was very difficult to support a family with 5 children. 

Sometimes we had to be farmed out, to live with other family members in their home.  It was normal for a family to be broken up until we became of age: 12 for a girl 13 for a boy, when he has a bar mitzvah.

When the war broke out, my brother and I were on one side of the river that belonged the Russian authorities, my parents on the other side with the German authorities.

We stayed with my Uncle he had animals, it was nice.  It was not home but it was where I lived. 

I lost touch with my parents, when the Russian Government  gave them opportunity to go to Russia.   I stayed with my brother, he was 8, I was 10, living on my Uncle’s farm.

One day they arrested him for being a spy, he didn’t even know what the word spy meant, but they found an excuse to take us away.

We were put in an Arbeit Camp, a concentration camp.  It was not home but it was where I lived.

I shinned maybe 2000 boots of the Germans.  There were a few that would sometimes leave me candy or chocolate.   For a ten year old boy this was important.  They would eat their chocolate and drop the wrapper with a bit for me.   Not all of them, of course, but a few.

One day my uncle put on your two pair of pants, short and long pair.   I said why, he said  don’t ask why I will not give you an answer.

There was an escape planned.

He woke us up. 

It was time to find a new home.

Electric wire around the camp and the first few people died on the wire but their weight allowed us to pass over the wire to freedom.

Hundreds of people escaped.

My Uncle moved us through the wire ahead of him.

Then he was shot.

“Luft,  kinder, Luft” 

We ran into the woods, we ate berries, grass, sometimes we found a tree that found apples in orchards.  It was not home but it was where I lived.

We lived there for a long time.   

One day we heard “HALT!”

We froze.   

When I looked up I saw that the uniforms they were wearing were not of the German soldiers but of the resistance, the underground movement.

They gave me a new home.


What is Home?
Bob Peterson

Home:  What does home mean to this surfing senior?

“Home” on the ipad takes me back to different icons or applications.

Google Street View let me see my childhood "home" in Kingston Ontario.

Now, I looked up Google Earth Satellite view of my home but the street address was obscured by a cloud.  

(Am I living in “the cloud”?)

Then I Googled my  name a found an interview I had given regarding WW2

Is the internet my new home?


“Home” does not mean the same thing for everyone.  For some people it is just bricks and mortar, for others it is a show place where they can display their wealth or their good taste.  For me it is and was always where I was with my parents and as I grew up with my husband and daughters.

My father always said that anything in life that is replaceable is not important.

I have lived in seven different countries one of which was Israel, where I met my beloved husband, who was from South Africa. 

When our daughter was 15 months old my husband decided we should move to South Africa, which meant, for me, leaving my entire family.  Parent’s, brother, grandmother & seven uncles and aunts and cousins.

After some years we were able  to go back to Israel very often and each time as I got onto the tarmac at Ludd, I had this over powering feeling:   THIS IS HOME.

Happy to be Home
Frances Kalb

As you know, September 11, 2001 affected everyone including me.  This is my story.

After visiting my daughter, Arlene and her family in Atlanta, Georgia, I was returning home to Calgary on that fateful day without any knowledge of what was in store.   We left Atlanta about 8 am Eastern time.   Shortly after take off the Captain’s voice came over the loudspeaker that we were making an unscheduled landing in Memphis Tennessee.    He also mentioned that there was not mechanical problem and not to worry.   We landed without knowing the sad and tragic day that was ahead.  Only when we landed were were informed of the tragedy at the Trade Centre in NY and other places, and were told to pick up our luggage and make arrangements to get back to Atlanta.   All flights were cancelled.

I was fortunate enough to meet up with a lovely young woman and her children on their way to Hawaii.   She was able to get hotel accommodations for herself and for me as she was an airline attendant.  Many people were simply stranded.   She had phoned her husband and he would be there to join them that evening and return to Atlanta the next morning by car.   They included me in the return trip and so I was back at my daughter’s home the next day to remain for another week.  

Arlene and my granddaughter welcomed me home with open arms, lots of hugs and kisses, so happy that I was safe.  

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