“Going Home”. What Does Your Childhood Home Mean To You?

Do you have any desire to visit your childhood home?

There have been many songs, poems, and quotes written about “going home”.  Off the top of my head, I think of quotes like “home sweet home”, “home is where the heart is” , “bless this home”.  Songs like ” Sweet Home Chicago” ,”Coming Home”(John Legend), and “Midnight Train To Georgia” also come to mind.

Although we develop emotional attachments to places throughout our lifetimes, the vast majority of people who make a trip to see a former home select a place they lived during their elementary years (around 5  to 12 years old).

Each year millions of American adults visit a childhood home. Few can anticipate the effect it will have on them.  Often serving several important psychological needs, these trips are not intended as visits with people from their past.  Rather, those returning to their homes have a strong desire to visit the places that comprised the landscape of their childhood.

…One-third of American adults over the age of 30 has made a trip to visit a childhood home.  There are three primary reasons for the trip: 1) They want to reconnect with their childhood. 2) They’re going through some kind of crisis or problem, and they want to reflect on their past. 3) They have unfinished business from childhood. The Psychology Behind Returning to Your Childhood Home

I consider myself lucky.  My parents still reside in my childhood home in Chicago. They have lived in the same house for nearly sixty years. Seven generations of my family have enjoyed this home (from my great-great grandmother to my four-year old great-niece), either as residents or frequent visitors.   I have lived nearly a thousand miles away from home for over thirty-five years, visiting three to four times per year.  When my children were young, my trips home were primarily focused on making sure my children developed a relationship with their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.  The trips were often stressful and overly scheduled.  However, now that the kids have grown up, and I travel home alone, the visits have become not just about spending time with my parents and family, but also about spending time enjoying the actual home, reflecting on the years upon years of memories.  My parents raised five girls in this house, and it is filled with generations of  photos, including pictures of family vacations that included my parent’s twelve grand-children. During my last visit, my mom asked if I thought there were too many pictures on the walls. I replied “absolutely not!”. There is also a splattering of old toys, not-so-good artwork from our childhood, 30-year-old wedding dresses hanging in the closet, books from our elementary school years, along with sixty years of pictures in photo albums and on video.

Our family home used to be a very busy and sometimes crowded place, but now when I visit, the house is often quiet.  I feel an amazing sense of  calm and comfort as I sit alone gazing around at mementoes from the past, taking a trip down memory lane. My childhood home tells a story of a family, of love, of lives well lived.  I am keenly aware that someday, maybe even someday soon, I will only be able to drive-by.

I hope my children will have some good memories from their childhood home as they grow older.  Maybe they will even do a drive-by someday when we are no longer living there, and smile as they recall good times.

What type of memories  are conjured up for you when you think of your childhood home? Even if family left there long ago, do you have the urge to drive by, or have you driven by and been overcome with memories?  Share your stories with us at gen2genchat.com.




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