Feels Like Home

In my mind, we “spent our summers” in Puget Sound. In reality, it was a few small trips and one big summer.

Before that summer, we lived on the edge of a one mile canyon filled with succulents. My brother and I used to slide down the ice plants on makeshift “sleds” while our Mother gardened. One day, as we climbed back into the yard, we heard bees humming over the flower beds as our Mother silently read a letter.

San Diego didn’t feel like home. Our Father was gone most of the time. It was the late 60’s and the Vietnam war was ongoing. I remember Mom crying as she scrubbed the tub one morning. When I asked her why, she replied “one of the damned ‘flower power’ slip proof stickers is peeling up,” then admitted she was missing our Father. Little things blew up into big things and sometimes we took major life events in stride.

We weren’t from anywhere. We were from moving vans and packing stickers, going coast to coast and overseas, always making new friends but really knowing no one. We were a military family that moved often, yet every place felt like home when we were together.

The news from my Father was good. He was coming back and we would be spending the entire summer in Bremerton, WA, home of the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. My Mom was born and raised in King County and my parents met in Seattle. Bremerton was just a ferry ride from Mom’s family. This felt like going home.

We got to ride the USS Ticonderoga up the Pacific coast to our next home. My brother and I got to meet many relatives for the first time. My Mom’s mother had long since passed, but our great Aunt and Uncle, and great grandfather welcomed us as if Mom hadn’t been gone for years.

That summer left lasting impressions of Puget Sound. In addition to getting to know family, we made memories picking berries, digging for clams, and enjoying the lush surroundings and temperate weather. As we continued to move, often long distances, we would visit only a handful of times over the coming decades.

Nearly 50 years later, retired and newly married, my husband and started traveling extensively and talking about where we might spend our life together. Both of us had left “home” (that place our Fathers were then working) to work where our own employers wanted us to be, only seeing family on holidays. What if we could chose our own home? Where would that be? Our trips included vacations to where various friends and family members lived, or that we had otherwise enjoyed. We both had connections to the Pacific Northwest; mine in Puget Sound and his in Western Canada. Things kept pointing us in this direction.

A few vacation rentals later, we knew where we wanted to be and bought a house site unseen. We knew where the neighborhood was, it had the view we wanted, it was near (or a ferry ride away) from various friends and family, and it felt right because we picked it and we’d be together. So, we packed our bags, the cats and one last moving van.

When we arrived, the house had been empty a couple of months and the yard was full of wildlife wondering who we were. However, the neighbors greeted us saying how nice it was to see the lights on again and welcomed us home.

My Mother would have turned 90 this weekend. This is dedicated to her and the memories she helped create. I bet she’s pleased. It feels good to get settled in and start writing again.

Why do you live where you live? Let me know in the comments!

18 thoughts on “Feels Like Home

  1. Once retired, I chose to live in the Pacific North-er West (LOL!), on Vancouver Island. Because my daughter moved here and because of the weather, mountains, ocean, trees, lakes and quality of life. decision I ever made. Hiya, neighbour! 😉

    Deb

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  2. Tracey, I love this. You sound so resolved and at peace with your choice. I look forward to hearing from you more often, now that you are settled. If you have been following our past year, you know that we have just moved into a ‘temporary’ home, actually, it’s an apartment, about five miles from where our home of twenty-two years was located. We are unsure where we will land next, but Florida has always been home to me, so likely not too far.

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    • Nice to hear from you, Suzanne! Yes, I have been following and recall you’ve moved twice recently. It’s good to get settled. We are ready to plan some trips and projects that don’t involve moving. Tracey

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  3. I love this! Welcome to your new home. Your view is beautiful and it sounds like your neighborhood is full of nice people. The PNW is a favorite of mine too and I have several friends who live there (including, now, you). Where we live (San Diego) has gotten so crowded that my husband and I have talked about moving to somewhere quieter. Who knows, we may start to look at PNW properties one of these days.

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  4. Welcome to your new home, Tracey. PNW is a beautiful area and having nice neighbours is always a plus. I’ve been living in Toronto as most of my immediate family members live here. It’s a vibrant city and a good flight hub when I travel.

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  5. What a wonderfully written post, and a beautiful tribute to your mother to boot. It looks like you’ve really chosen the right place — brave of you to buy it unseen!!!! It’s beautiful. Well done! – Marty

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    • Thank you Marty. Yes, pretty brave move, even though we did have a trusted friend look at it for us. It was surreal moving in and seeing everything in real life for the first time.

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  6. Oh Tracey, that view! It was interesting to read your thoughts on “home”, I think as an MK I have very similar feelings on that. Right now I’m in a pleasant state of limbo. Home can be an ellusive thing.

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    • Miriam – What’s an MK?
      I’m with you, in limbo, trying to find that elusive home.
      I’m in So Cal now because that’s where Mom was when I came to care for her. The pandemic hit just as I got here so my idiot husband used that as an excuse to file for divorce. It was difficult to settle after 30 years of marriage but we finally did, at around the same time Mom passed.
      I am getting ready to move to MI which is where my adult daughters live. I will be traveling through Tucson and Albuquerque and St. Louis to visit friends there and which I am viewing as potential future at least semi-permanent retirement spots.
      I have also been considering becoming a snowbird, with two homes, one with a warm winter and the other with a temperate summer. The fates or God or Karma or Mom have led one of my kids to move to AZ for next few years. Voila! Now I can think about dividing my time between there and MI which I hope and expect will be the best of both worlds!

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      • Those all sound like nice cities and potential options. In response to Miriam’s comment, MK stands for Missionary Kid, so she moved around a lot while growing up. Regards! Tracey

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  7. Congratulations Tracey on choosing your new home. The view certainly is beautiful. I hope you are settling in. I still live in the same state I was born and raised in; in fact, I never left (except for vacations, of course). Utah is a beautiful state with a lot of options for cultural activities and things to do in nature. It doesn’t hurt that most of my siblings and all of our children and grandchildren live in Utah. While I want to see more of the world now that I am retired, I don’t foresee us moving outside of Utah. Of course, life has a way of surprising us, doesn’t it? So I never say never.

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    • Thank you Christie. How wonderful to have all of your family in one area, and such a beautiful one. I haven’t been to Utah in a long time, but home to get back to see some of the National Parks soon.

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