Home is Where the Heart is


Where is my home?

 I think everyone of us at one time or other questions where our home is. As young adults, we leave the “nest” and venture out into the world. Some to college, some to the military, and some get married establishing a new home together with their spouse, but all of us have to decide where home is. For those going away to college or the military, those places become temporary homes and when they have completed their commitment, they return “home.”

So what makes us call where we grew up home? I can remember many times in my young marriage when I would make the comment that we would be going “home” for the holidays. Immediately my wife would reminded me that where we lived was home, not where I grew up.

One of my daughters, who went to a nearby college and was able to drive home at will, would occasionally come home while we were gone shopping and when we returned we would  find a note on the refrigerator stating “I came, I took, I went” making it very obvious that she still considered where she grew up as home.

Still, that begs the question “where is home?”

I am a huge fan of the Indy 500 race each May. I have not missed listening to it or watching it since I was a teenager. At the Indy 500 race in 1972, Jim Nabors sang “Back Home Again, In Indiana” and it started a tradition. He has sung that song virtually every year of the race since. The chorus goes as follows:

“Back home again in Indiana,
And it seems that I can see
The gleaming candlelight, still shining bright,
Through the sycamores for me.
The new-mown hay sends all its fragrance
From the fields I used to roam.
When I dream about the moonlight on the Wabash,
Then I long for my Indiana home.”

Funny, but Jim Nabors never lived in Indiana; born in Arkansas, and now residing in Hawaii. His singing has resulted in his Indiana fans “adopting him as one of their own.” In fact, Mr. Nabors has said that if he ever left Hawaii, he probably would live in Indiana because of the way the Hosiers accepted him.

I grew up in Kansas where the words to “Home, Home on the Range” reverberate through my head.

“Oh give me a home where the buffalo roam,
Where the deer and the antelope play,
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word,
And the skies are not cloudy all day.”

In my sixty-six years of life, I have lived in Kansas, Colorado, Missouri, and Illinois. So where is my home?

home-is-where-your-heart-isIt has been said that “Home is where the heart is” and that is so true. I have a deep love for my Kansas home. However, I also have a real love for the short length of time I lived in Colorado. Shortly after living there, I read “Centennial” by James Michener (one of my favorite authors) I love historical fiction and as I read of the westward travel of the characters in his book, I could relate very much to the places and events that were described reliving some of those same events as we traveled to our new Colorado home.

So my heart says my home is in Kansas, Colorado, Missouri, and now Illinois. But that is not the only place I call home. As I have traced my roots back several generations, I have fallen in love with my ancestral roots back in West Virginia. So as the song “West Virginia, My Home” says so well in the lyrics that follows:

“West Virginia, oh my home
West Virginia, where I belong
In the dead of the night, in the still and the quiet
I slip away, like a bird in flight
Back to those hills, the place that I call home”

 So if my home is where my heart is, then it must include West Virginia.

 So what about you? As you read this first blog of my Swishergenealogy website, where is your home? Do you still live in the same area as your ancestral home? Have you moved on to new places that you call home? Do you still have a something deep inside your being that beckons you back home, where ever that is?

 I welcome comments from everyone. If by chance you call yourself, “my cousin” I would love to hear from you too.

One thought on “Home is Where the Heart is”

  1. Curt, as a Swisher who grew up not knowing my Swisher kin, I still feel the call of my West Virginia ancestors and the places they called home. It is almost like a fire that burns relentlessly. I may have been born in California and raised in Oregon, but my dad’s entire family is in West Virginia. That is where all of my great aunts and uncles and cousins are. All except for my dad and his sister. I still have great a lot of family there and would sell an appendage pretty much to be able to travel there to see them and all the places that my family has called “home”. So when you talk of something deep inside that beckons for home I truly understand that statement. For almost 230 years our Swisher ancestors have called West Virginia home. So many Swishers buried there. So many stories, so much history that I have spent the past ten years trying to validate even the smallest whispers of Swisher history so that I might learn about my ancestors. I may have never lived in West Virginia, but I still feel the calling. I will always call Oregon home, but I still feel the need to stand on the grounds my ancestors stood and visit the towns my ancestors made.

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