Don’t It Make You Want To Go Home

It seems the older I get, the more I miss my childhood, and the more I yearn to go “Home.” Yes, my present house, the one I have lived in for a little over twenty years, is home, but I’m referring more to a state of being than a physical place.

I will say, though, that the old, weathered house where I spent the first twelve years of my life is a big part of Home. It had no indoor plumbing, and we relied on heat from the fireplace in the front room and the wood cookstove in the kitchen in the winter months to keep us warm. Most places inside were still cold if you weren’t in the kitchen or right in front of the fireplace. My siblings and I slept under quilts my mama had made from fabric scraps. On frigid nights, the layers were so heavy I felt almost pinned to the bed under their weight. But I wasn’t cold. Many mornings I woke to the cloud of my breath and the smell of baking biscuits and sizzling bacon.

In the summer, there was no escaping the heat. I had never known the luxury of a fan to sleep under, let alone air conditioning, so I don’t recall sweating interfering with my sleep. In the height of summer, Mama canned vegetables from our large garden. My sisters and I were often recruited to help, and let me tell you, if I had to be in that hot, stifling kitchen today, I would probably pass out.

I don’t look back on those times as hard, though I’m sure they were to my parents. They bore the bulk of the work and let us children have plenty of playtime. We roamed our large farm/ranch and the lands surrounding it (which at that time was still primarily woods), played in the branch, and because we had few toys, improvised our own. We used our imaginations to be cowboys, Indians (that’s what Native Americans were known as then), play war, and sometimes, my sister closest in age to me, and I played with dolls. But outside was the preferred place to be.

I’m old enough to know that I look back on those times through rose-colored glasses, but I think most of us do, even those whose childhoods weren’t so great. Some people have horrific childhoods with little to no good memories, but most of us fall somewhere between idyllic and horrific. And I think we recall more of the good than the bad over time.

My mama had a hard childhood. Her family was dirt poor, and her father was an abusive alcoholic, and though Mama’s mother was kind and gentle, I don’t think she protected her children from their father. In that day and time, the man was the king of his castle, and what he said (or did) was the law. I believe, though, that Granny endured most of his physical violence. And you know, one would think my mama would have no desire to return to that time in her life or see her father again. But…

In the final months of her life, when my siblings and I were caring for Mama, she often spoke of her parents. She was old—eighty-seven—and after a series of mini-strokes (we think), her mind was slipping away. Frequently, she believed she was still a child, and her children were people she didn’t know who were taking care of her. She would ask us if Mama and Daddy knew she was there (Maybe in a hospital?) and when would they come to take her home. We always reassured her they knew and would be there as soon as she was well enough. What else could we do but make her passing as easy as possible for her both physically and emotionally?

Mama departed this earth eighteen years ago this month. And just like she wanted to go Home as she was dying, for several years now, I’ve also felt that urge to return Home as I know it. I don’t get it—what’s so magical about our childhood that makes us want to return there, that makes us hope that if there is a Heaven, it will be Home? Is it the innocence of that time in our lives that beckons to us, calls us back to the safety we felt beneath our parents’ wings? All too soon—especially in today’s world—that innocence is ripped away, and we see the ugly side of life.

As we grow older, we don’t necessarily grow more content. And we look back, look back, on those perfect halcyon days, wanting to go Home.

©2022 KT Workman


“Don’t It Make You Want To Go Home” written and performed by Joe South

Image by RitaE from Pixabay

16 thoughts on “Don’t It Make You Want To Go Home

  1. Janet Gogerty

    Yes, my childhood was totally different to yours as my first six years were spent in the top half of a Victorian terraced house on a busy road. No garden and I recall looking out of the window longingly at the blue sky. However, because we lived in a flat I and then the two babies that followed were always being taken down by the river and out to the parks we were lucky to have near by. Freedom and running around. And the nearer my mother was to her death last year, as my last link with those early years was coming to an end, the more magic they became in memory. Music from the radio and old television programmes take me back instantly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, music works that magic for me as well. It’s truly a gift to experience a good childhood…so many don’t.
      Janet, thank you for stopping by and reading. I appreciate it. 🙂

      Like

  2. Anonymous

    Sad, makes me want to go home too.makes me long for my granny who was a simple minded,but I knew she loved me more then anything. She was never too busy to stop and see what I needed.we were poor too. Their first house burned so they redone the barn into a four room house .It was heated with stove in front room and wood cook stove in kitchen. My grandpa slept on a bed outside in the summer.my granny had a job washing dishes at the cottage cafe or clean Mary Ockers house. Couldn’t drive so she would start walking and someone would
    If pick her up..To get a ride home in the evenings she would sit on the porch of Earl Snows store and some kind person would give her a ride,usually Thell Shaw.My granny was a kind soul helped anyone in need. She had lots of black friends that lived out in the43 community and they helped each other.Life will never be as good as it was back in those pot times .

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wonderful post (and photo). I grew up many, many years ago in a large, working-class family. I also often ‘want to go home.” But not in the sense of a place, but rather that I would like to sit and talk to my parents, who both died much too young. Childhood is also a time when a person is still close to their siblings. Some of my siblings have passed on, and the rest of us aren’t as close now as when we were kids. This is normal, of course. We grow up and move on. I found your post very moving.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Diana.
      I am the baby of a family of seven, and all but the eldest, a brother, are still alive. I was lucky to have both my parents until my early 50s, but no matter how old one is, the loss of a parent or sibling is hard. It’s as if we lose a part of our childhood. I often dream of my parents, and when I do, it’s just an ordinary day and I have stopped by their house to see them. I wake from those dreams feeling as if I got to visit with them, and it always warms my heart. My siblings and I remain close, though we don’t see each other as often as we used to…all of us are basically homebodies. But the love yet remains.
      Thank you again for sharing your thoughts. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Sandra Kay (Spoon) Collins

    Wow. I Good. True. Story / I always loved spending Time at your house / Rich Rich. I thought Aunt Agnes & UncleTom was rich having all you Cuz’s. Life was Truely. A Good one. Feeling safe / wide open spaces. When our Precious Parents leave us too go too Their Heavenly. Home. / it seems no one or Any place can replace it ❓But / We have a Nice simple home / I have a Loving Husband of 52 yrs and (5) fantastic Sons & Their Families. Butt No Place like home Thank You for sharing Kathy (Kat)

    Liked by 1 person

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