We have been publishing a monthly Home Section in The Laker/Lutz News for several years, and each month I write the stories you read in this section. I’ve learned much about the developers and builders behind many of Pasco County’s master-planned communities, and enjoy telling their stories and those of the people who live in these new neighborhoods.
This month, I thought I would share with you my personal story about home ownership, and why a home means so much more to me than just its physical structure.
My first home, of course, was my childhood home in St. Paul, Minnesota. I was the fourth child in my family, and was 9 months old when my parents bought a farmhouse built in 1885 on five acres just outside the city limits. Six more children were born in this house, and it became our family homestead for the next 65 years.
I left Minnesota for Florida when I was 25, and when I went back home to visit once or twice a year, I always stayed at my childhood home. After my father retired, the house became his primary hobby, and Dad loved showing off his most recent home improvement projects to me, not long after I walked in the door. As we became adults, the house remained the gathering place for all family occasions, and the house, my Dad and my siblings became forever intertwined.
After my father died in 2016, our stepmother stayed in the house until she decided she didn’t want to go through another Minnesota winter in a 135-year-old farmhouse. So, this summer she moved to a senior community with lots of activities and no worries about the furnace going out or waiting for the driveway to be plowed.
A few months later, our family home was sold to a young couple who “wanted to raise their children in an old home with character.” While we were happy a new generation would be making new memories in our family home, selling it was very emotional because it was the last physical connection with our Dad, and there would no longer be a place for large family gatherings.
For me, that old farmhouse symbolized the love and stability of my family. As a child, I always imagined that when I grew up, I would buy a house just like it to raise my children and live in forever.
Well, things didn’t quite work out that way. Over the course of my life, I have owned six homes, never living in any one of them for more than seven years.
But, I have never given up my fantasy of a forever home. When it was time to move and look for the next house, I always searched for what I believed would be the perfect home to live in for the rest of my life. And, when it was time to move again a few years later, I was always sad to say goodbye and begin the search for our next home.
As I got older, and my children went off to college and then their own lives, I began to spend more time gardening and taking care of my shrubs and plants. I have even added orchids to my landscape, and when they bloom, I send pictures of the flowers to my sisters, as I once sent photos of my kids.
I would rather be home than anyplace else — it’s a retreat that protects me and envelops me in serenity. It’s a place to display and enjoy family photos, favorite books and artwork from my daughter and local artists.
My current home in Land O’ Lakes is my all-time favorite — but then I’ve said that about every home I’ve owned. It’s the first brand new home I’ve bought, and I’ve lived here already for over three years. Right now, I see myself staying here forever, but I know from my personal history that I will likely be moving again.
Perhaps that is why I enjoy writing stories for this Home Section, because it lets my mind drift to the newest master-planned community coming to Land O’ Lakes or Wesley Chapel. I get to learn firsthand the latest in home design with flowing floor plans, new trends in finishes and the adaption of digital technology for the home.
I hope that you, too, can close your eyes and visualize living in one of the communities or homes I have written about in this Home Section. Even if you are not looking to buy a home today, I hope that reading about what’s new in housing locally will help you find your next home, which perhaps will become your forever home.
Published November 25, 2020