Recuperating took 3 days, and counting. Reminding myself what I love about the city of Chicago, my home of 7 years, took seconds. I peered out of the airplane window to the lake and world-class city that still holds a piece of me in her memory, as much as I hold a piece of her in mine, or more accurately, a million little pieces.
The people of this fair city are what holds me close to her. A cubs game was brewing, and the Addison Blue line stop provided a glimpse of what Wrigleyville would be dripping with in less than 3 hours. I scanned for Ronny Woo-Woo and the old lady with the walker and Cubs gear pouring over her like a Sosa waterfall gone awry. I thought of food, as any good ex-Chicagoan and present day Southerner would, and made mental plans to hit my favorites; Nancy’s pizza, Paterno’s for cheezy beef, and House of Hunan for chinese and “fried sugary things”. Mostly, I was looking forward to seeing my peeps.
2 days of back-to-back, nonstop celebration of summer in general and my visit in particular, Chicago’s unbridled humidity, and a stomach aching from never-ending laughter and joy, and it was high time to return to the slowcountry. It always takes that first visit back to the place you have left to help you see where you’ve arrived, which got me thinking about the concept of home.
Home was always where my parents lived, even after I left the nest in my eighteenth year to fly West. I longed for it, especially in troubling times, as it was the place that cared for me and nurtured me. Now, I have often been at a loss about where I consider home to actually be. I have tried to call 6 states and twice as many towns and cities home since my abrupt and determined flight. Still, I feel like a wandering, homeless gypsy, with my concept of home changing as much as my hair and my body has.
Now an adult, my friends have become my family, who nurture me in adulthood much like my blood family did in my youth. My main home is now in the Lowcountry, where my best friend David and I live. With other homes in Chicago, London, the Virgin Islands, D.C., and sprinkled throughout the states of Colorado, Oregon, California, Ohio, NewYork, Florida, and Texas, I have come to see pieces of home in all of the places which house my most beloved kin.