Houses have never really meant that much to me.
Maybe it’s because I lived in over fourteen different ones before turning 18.
Maybe it’s because I ended up upside down on my very first house purchase, thanks to the mortgage crash of 2008.
Maybe it’s because all my most treasured memories take place outside my house – on a desolate beach at dawn, breathing in the 14,000 ft view that inspired the authorship of “America the Beautiful”, or snuggled up to my soldier post-deployment in temporary military housing.
Houses – big or small – don’t seem to make much of a difference to the inhabitants regarding the quality of life. I’ve known many a miserable person to live a 7,000 customized square feet, and met many a happy individual to have little more than a tent to call their “home”.
My grandmother was born in 1932, right in the middle of the Great Depression.
Her father died when she was four or five years old, leaving a young and vulnerable family with no resources. My grandmother, along with her siblings were sent to live with relatives and neighbors. The only memories my grandmother has shared regarding this particularly challenging time in her early life are a few anecdotes regarding working on the host farms in which she lived.
As our country surged through World War II and the economy began to recover, my grandmother’s life improved considerably. She became a beautician, opened her own beauty salon, traveled to NYC and Hawaii, and eventually, married a veterinarian. All the material comforts and basics securities she missed out on as a Depression era baby, she realized through the remaining 70 years of her adult life.