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    I had a dream the other night that took place in the present day, but my parents still lived at our home in Orland Park, in the Villa West subdivision, where I lived from the summer that I was 7 to the summer that I was 29.

    Some of the sidewalks around the area of the tree-lined Fir Street were either in the process of being replaced or had dropped way down below the surface of the curb and there were tall weeds growing along where the edge of the sidewalk would have been at the first two houses, and I felt really sad that the neighborhood had apparently deteriorated but when I looked further down the street, there were still nice homes with beautiful yards just as I remembered.

    The house across from ours on the opposite corner was hosting some sort of a large birthday gathering and Jim and I were sitting along the sidewalk on the opposite side of the street and a badly-behaved little boy was waving some sort of a noisy wand toy directly at my ear and when he wouldn't stop, I took the wand and broke the end of it on the pavement, unbeknowngst to him.

    We were already scurrying back to our yard. I noticed a swing set in the front yard of Betty's house next door and figured that she had Grandkids coming for a visit, and then told Jim that I wanted us to take a walk through the subdivision that evening, eyeing the sidewalks that led down through 85th Avenue, "because it was something I hadn't done since I was a kid" and then I started crying.

    It was then that I woke up from the dream literally whispering the sentence "I wish Mom and Dad still lived at that home in Orland Park".

    Home.

    Dreams are often an interesting mix of details. Our old home has appeared in dreams throughout my life. I believe that the swing set detail sort of popped in there, because we recently dismantled Sarah's childhood swing set (another story, another time).

    Miranda Lambert's, The House that Built Me, gets me every time.

    We'll often hear it in the car on Friday evenings when we're driving Sarah to her Dads. Jim always glances over at me to check if I'm crying, and I'll have my head turned as I'm bawling, staring out the passenger window with the western sun's reflection in my tears.

    It begins to hit me with the first sweet notes of acoustical guitar and by the time she begins to sing, "those handprints on the front steps are mine. Up those stairs, in that little back bedroom, is where I did my homework..." or "I'll bet you didn't know, under that live oak, my favorite dog is buried in the yard"... I'm gone.

    ~ transported through time to the front porch of our old house, overwhelmed by the passage of time and the present knowledge of things passing away.

    Home means different things to different people. Jim and I have discussed this topic at least a couple of times this summer. He doesn't share my emotion for one particular place known as home. Rather, home to him is simply where I am, where we are together.

    Though we both agree that our present town, while holding our residence, does not hold our hearts.

    For me, thoughts of home always return to the home in Orland. It's where I spent the majority of my life, where my sisters and I grew up together, where my parents were young and vibrant and the neighborhood fulfilled every sense of the word.

    My sisters only have the memories of the Orland home even though we all shared two ~ the home in Bourbonnais, separated by 32 miles.

    None of us have moved far or often. My sisters all still live in the Chicagoland area and I would have remained there as well, if our parents didn't move downstate when Dad retired.

    We presently live in a former military town, filled with people who are obviously used to moving.
    I am not and I'm thankful for that.

    I'm thankful for the memories that I have of a home that signified stability, safety and love. It truly was the "house that built me". Oh I know that could have been anywhere since it is only a building and doesn't mean anything without the love of family and friends, but there is a special connection with that place in time, that can't be felt by anyone else other than those who lived it.

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