When traveling along an interstate highway, or, actually, almost any roadway, signs proclaim “If you lived here, you would be home.” Really? Where is your home? Where is my home? After moving to Paradise Valley Estates, when did the apartment become my home?
There are many definitions of the home. Some suggest it is a residence; others refer to it as “a dwelling place together with the social unit that occupies it.” There are references to sports (home plate), institutions (the home), origins (Ohio was my home), and more. The definition that applies to me is “to the center, or heart of something; deeply.” When did my apartment become my home? I cannot recall how long that process took.
The decision to move to a Life Plan Community was made in 1988, when my mom and dad moved into a similar community in Ohio. It was a new community built around a large mansion with spacious grounds. When the independent living apartment building was completed, my mom and dad were among the first residents. As the years progressed, Floyd and I witnessed their moves between the living units.
Like the Werther Candy commercial, now Floyd and I were the ones to move to the next phase, which some people call “God’s Waiting Room.” Did I want to move? There was conflict between knowing the gift (living in a Life Plan Community) we hoped to give our children and leaving friends and the stimulating activities I enjoyed in the Washington, D.C. area. As Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof said, “on the other hand . . . ,” so we came.
The welcome with our families was genuine. The joy of becoming more involved with their activities and exciting opportunities was priceless. However, did I call the apartment home? Not yet.
Becoming a part of life at PVE was easy. A big surprise was seeing my friend from college days and her husband. They were ready guides and loving help. Another casual acquaintance and her husband from days in Virginia happened to be good friends of my friends, so they became another link in our welcome. Especially friendly neighbors in the apartment building helped us become part of the PVE family.
Some months later, Floyd and I were hurrying back from the Community Center after a Great Decisions session. I said we had to get home fast (for some reason I do not recall). All of a sudden, I stopped and looked at him with a surprised smile… “I finally said, “HOME.”
Now, as we pass the Paradise Valley Estates sign along I-80, I don’t need a banner that proclaims, “If you were living here, you would be home.” In my mind, I know I am close to home.