We asked readers, “What is your definition of home — what does it mean to go home, what’s there when you arrive, and has the meaning changed or will it be changing?”
We were inundated by responses.
Here is what people across Kansas had to say:
“I’m lucky — my kids and family are close together — now. My husband works out of town eight months of the year.
“For us – home is where family is. Where you are is not as important as when you arrive and you see the light shine in their eyes and the excitement from the grandkids that Grandma and Grandpa have arrived”.
“Our eyes travel into blue haze forty miles and more. I tell my son about our several great-grandparents who lived just west of this summit. Their graves lie in a distant fold, a valley where their voices mixed into a blur of gusting gales like these rushing into our ears.”
“When I was young, home was the place where I grew up. As I raised my own children, home was where we lived, but also the small town and house where I grew up and my parents still lived. Now I work in a profession where I get moved around. My parents are no longer living in my childhood home. And over the years I have learned that home has a lot more to do with people than it does with place. It’s home when my kids and my husband and I gather at my daughter’s house in Olathe. It’s home when my brother and my sister and as many of our children’s family’s as possible meet in Wichita at my sister’s house. Home is where you find love and are loved. So home is also in the heart God where we were conceived in love, born in love and are loved unconditionally all our lives.”
“The old saying, “Home is where the heart is” leaves a lot open to interpretation, however, my heart will always belong on the farm where I was raised northeast of Holton. No matter where I live, this little house on the prairie will always be my home. It is the center of my fondest memories and is a place where I learned the most value lessons of my life. I laughed, cried, pouted and pestered in that home and on that farm. I had instilled in me a code of honor that included honesty, courage, compassion, forgiveness, truthfulness and responsibility. I learned the strong work ethic here that I carry with me to this day.”
“To me, home is the happiness and peace that you feel when you get away from the chaos of the world you live in. It is where you can unwind by yourself or with family. It is where you gather for celebrations of joy or times of grief. It could be the place where kids are raised and joyous memories are made and forever cherished.
“Has life in homes changed today from yesteryear? Of course and there are many reasons for that. Most of us live in a too fast society and we hope that all the electronic toys and other material things that we have will make us happy instead of just having ourselves and that is quite sad, indeed. Homes today can be places where family members become strangers if they do not spend enough quality time together. The family entity has been eroding away for decades and we have all suffered for that in many ways.”
“Home for me is the town in which I have lived for 61 years. Home is the town where 5 generations of families know each other. Where after so many generations, families have intertwined with other families either in friendship or in marriage. Home is where many share in the joy of a new baby, the happiness of an achievement, the sorrow of misfortune or death of a friend. Home is where I am safe and secure because I know I’m never without a helping hand or a caring heart.”
“Between 1950 and 1985, I was living in the L.A. Area of San Fernando Valley/Santa Monica, and I never felt at home. If anyone asked, ‘Where’s your home?’ I always answered, Humboldt, Kansas, never L.A. Please understand. I was smart, productive, had great friends, was a super teacher, but for 35 years I yearned for Kansas’ friendliness, faith, strong work ethic, and big open skies that always promise me FREEDOM. Finally, one day, I told my California teaching colleagues that I was getting ready to click the heels on my ruby slippers and go HOME to Humboldt. Of course, they said, ‘You’ll be back; you won’t be able to stand living in Kansas.’ I replied, ‘Do you know why you don’t understand my wanting to leave L.A.? You’re not Kansans. For me, there is simply ‘No other place like Home’ in Humboldt.’ I was 55 then and would continue to teach until I was 69. Been happily back in Kansas for 26 years. I’m 82, still importantly productive and still thanking God for bringing me back home to Humboldt.”
“What does it mean to go home?
“Home to me is where family and friends gather with lots of mom’s great cooking. There are always lots of pies and other goodies that just bring everyone together.
“My hometown is Manhattan, Ks. but I live in Garden City, Ks.”
“My definition of home or going home is where my family is. It wouldn’t matter to me where I live as long as my husband and kids are there with methat is my home! I have always had a strong faith in God but after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010, the saying ‘Going Home’ took on a whole new meaning to me. I know in my heart that my true ‘Going Home’ will be when I go to heaven to be with my Dad and all of those who have passed before me.”
“First let me begin by saying that I am 65 years old. Perhaps the perspective of defining ‘home’ for each generation may have some subtle differences so I thought I should share my age.
“Many people might say, well home is where the heart is, so going ‘home’ takes you to a place of peace and warmth. Unfortunately, for many, including myself, ‘home’ was neither a place of peace nor of warmth. Mobility has always caused the physical location of home to change over time, that has been true from the first days of settlement of North America. The degree and speed of changes in the physical location of people’s home has varied over the course of our history. I think it might be fair to say that the current and upcoming generation is trending to more mobility that my or my parents generation.
“Going home to me is going to where memories of the past were created, when those memories were good there is a tendency I believe to want to travel back, as if to travel back in time. For those who are in that situation, home provides a system of roots for the culture they identify with. The words ‘home’ and ‘family’ are often used together and for the most part are synonymous. However, there are some who are not part of a family, so home to them does not have that meaning but does share the meaning that it is a place of shelter and refuge.
“Arriving home, there are smells, sounds and scenes that encapsulate that environment that bring us back in time. My mother’s house had a unique smell, at my grandmother’s it was the ticking of the mantel clock and its chimes that broke the silence during pauses in conversation, hearing trains pass through town during the cool of the night when sound travels so much better, or the sounds of the midway at the state fair only 6 blocks away. In my case, much of the landscape of the old neighborhood and town are virtually unchanged to this day which brings the visual cues of times past.
“I think at the root of human nature is a desire for home-ness, I might even think that it stems from the protected environment of the womb. So though the physical definition of home will continually change, I think what it means to us will always be the same, well at least until humans are born in test tubes and raised on kid farms. I heard a comment on TV today that housing of the future by the necessity of economics is trending to smaller and more efficient. The question was asked why do we need a bathroom for every bedroom, growing up in a one bathroom house didn’t seem to cause long term damage to our parents (I presume the speaker never grew up with sisters or teenaged girls).
“I am proudly from Hutchinson.”
“My definition of home is that it’s the place where my family (husband and kids) and/or extended family are gathered together. Home to me can be found in a wide variety of places. It can be at our actual house we live in, at church, at family reunion locations, and even in cemeteries. Home isn’t really the building or place, it’s the feeling of being near loved ones. I’m a life-long Kansan, however, my husband’s mom’s family are from Texas and welcomed me into their family as soon as I met them. So now, each time I cross the Red River, I get that feeling of being home. When my husband and I were first married we lived in Montgomery county and spent a lot of time shopping and sight-seeing in the area around Bartlesville and Tulsa, Oklahoma and although we moved away from the area over 10 years ago, I still get ‘homesick’ for that area and the feeling of being home when we go back. So I guess for me ‘home’ is anywhere that I feel loved and can associate with happy memories of times spent with the people I love.”
“When I think or say the word home — a place comes to mind. I grew up as the 4th generation on a farm in northeast Kansas. Thus, my aunts and uncles and cousins referred to that place as the home place. I left, went to college, moved to the Wichita area, raised a family. We have lived in our house near Andover for 29 years so it is now a home place too but my family farm home will always be Home. It’s the place, the memories, the history and the family heritage which has provided me an identity beyond just myself. My husband also grew up on the family farm – he was the 3rd generation but a 4th generation lives there and raised a 5th generation there. Again – that is home. For both of us – when we say home – it means that old home place where there are so many memories and so much heritage.”
“For me, it is coming into Chase County and our glorious Flint Hills from any direction. Just entering this place I call home gives me a feeling of relief and peace.”
“What is your definition of home: Parents, Farm, Food, Family, Friendly, House, Sanctuary.
“What does it mean to go home: Special, Travel, Spending time, Laughter, Relax, Memories, Joy.
“What is there when you go home: Family, More food, love, pets, heritage.
“Has the meaning changed or will it be changing: It will always be where I grew up. Who is there changes.”
“This is just a short summary of what ‘Going Home’ means to me. My father passed away (my mother died in 1993) on November 15th. Going home always meant going to spend some time with Dad, squeezed between helping my brother with harvest and farming activities and occasional hunting trips. Those things always seemed more important than spending maximum time with my Dad, as I always knew Dad realized that by helping out on the farm I was kind of being with him—when he was no longer physically able to be out there. Now I realize how spending more time with him would have been more valuable than the work being done on the farm in the long run.
“I also remember going home being going to Christmas Eve services at the local church I was raised in and seeing it full of young impatient faces hardly being able to wait to get home to see what was under the tree. In present day there are but a few of those young faces in this church.
“Finally, the community (Bazine) is learning to share Christmas and family with the many ‘New Americans’ that are choosing to move to the community. For what once was a community with a declining population is now a community with a resurgence of growth of new citizens due to oil field related jobs in the area—much like when the German immigrants first settled in the community. Bazine a community of about now 350 had not so long ago declined to about 300. With the community’s acceptance of the Hispanic community ‘going home’ means a cultural change as well.”
“Home is where I go to feel safe, surrounded by family.
“What’s there when I arrive? Lots of hugs, love and laughter!
“The meaning has not changed for me. The actual location may change some day; however, it’s not about the location. It’s about what you do and who you’re with when you get there.”
“To me, ‘home’ is where traditions, memories and the accumulation of ‘stuff’ from a family’s life are collected (purposely or haphazardly), maintained and treasured. I have lived in several locations in my adult life, including starting a marriage, a career and a family in Columbia, Missouri; however, for me, “home” was always where my Mom and Dad lived (they lived in the same house for over 40 years in the small town in Missouri where I was born). After the death of my parents, ‘home’ has become our residence here in Wichita, which I would like to think is that ‘special family place’ for our three sons, our daughter-in-law and our two granddaughters. Obviously, our ‘home’ is warmer, richer and more delightful when we are all together.”
“Home is where you belong. Where your roots are, where you love ones are close by. You feel safe and projected in your home. The safe place you can be yourself and not put on a face for the world. A place of refuse.
“It is wonderful to be travel and visit other places, but it always feels good to be back home. Home is where you sleep in your own bed, keep your personal items and make your own "nest", so to speak.
“Home should be where you enjoy a congenial environment, share love and usually your place of origin, or the place you have lived long enough to feel attached. You can get up at night and move around without stubbing your toe because it is so familiar.
“In smaller rural Kansas towns, Home, still stands for all this, plus it is enlarged because we know our neighbors and most of the community citizens. You know so many they also care about you and it feels good to be home within your home town.
“Yes ‘home’ is changing and looks like it will continue to change as families more around so often they don’t stay long enough to turn a house into their home. Also, so many children are living in fear of what will happen at their home, that it cannot be a place of love or safety for them.”
“I’m sure you’re inundated with responses to this question, but I’m going to add mine to the chorus. It reminded me of last summer, when we went to visit our oldest son, who had lived in Washington, D.C., for a couple of years. He knew the cool places to eat and the best (translation: safest) metro stations and how to ride an escalator (which I didn’t even know required learning, but you stand on the right and walk on the left). I asked him if Washington felt like home now. He said, ‘No, it’s a place I know really well, and I love living here, but home is home.’ ”
“My definition of home is, simply, where my heart is. It doesn’t matter where I live or where my belongings may happen to be — it’s where I feel the most comfortable, where I belong. It’s where my family is, be it my father, my children or my boyfriend. To go home means to be surrounded by things and people that I love. The meaning has changed for me over the years and quite a bit most recently after going through a nasty divorce. Separating myself from a rotten 15 year relationship that was bad for everyone involved, I learned that home isn’t always where you put your things or where you park your car at night. Home is where you feel safe and secure, wanted and needed, warm and happy. It’s not about the things for me anymore — it’s about the feelings, wants and needs; providing for my children and making sure that they have these things to look forward to when they come home.”
“Home to me has changed many times over the years yet it still remains the same. It really has very little to do with the structure we call home.
“As a child, home was a place of safety and happiness. I had a very privileged childhood. Even though my parents were not wealthy, they loved each other and their children and never hesitated to show it. They taught us compassion, empathy, generosity and how to have fun in spite of adversity.
“As a teen, my parents encouraged me to broaden my horizons and exposed my siblings and I to different parts of the United States and diverse people. They also exposed me to art, architecture and the great land we call America. My ‘home’ became much larger.
“As a young adult, I met my husband and started a family and my home became so much more. The love of a spouse and children grows a young woman into fullness of maturity and their home becomes more than it has ever been. We had three boys and have fostered around 17 more boys, welcoming high risk teen boys into our home. Many people have asked me if I have ever been frightened. And my response is not any more than those young men are. Muddy tracks in the kitchen, footballs and wrestling in the living room matter not nearly as much as genuine affection from a young man who came to your home with spikes in his hair and fear in his eyes.
“Three short years ago, my husband was diagnosed with mantle cell lymphoma. For nearly an entire year, our home was on the 4th floor of a hospital in Nebraska. The loving people there helped us along through several very close calls. To this day, we treasure the wonderful doctors and nurses there and consider them part of our family and home.
“As I head into my elder years, and encounter these wonderful little beings called grandchildren, my home grows by leaps and bounds. It has many rooms in many locations. Wherever and whenever I see these lovely little people, I feel so much at home. Be it a restaurant, the park, their favorite rocking chair, or at my physical home, I know that love and beauty is what makes a home. As human beings, we can choose to have a happy home wherever we may be. Wealth or status really do not matter when you get to the meat of things. Home truly is where the heart is.”
“Home is the place to which I always return....
“The place I can rest and feel safe....
“The place memories are made.”
“Home to me is where my husband and I live. We were a military family when my husband was in the Air Force, and we had to develop a feeling of ‘home’ no matter where we were. So home just came to mean wherever we were living at the time. Fortunately for our daughters, they were still in elementary school when my husband retired, so home to them has been Olathe, Kansas, for the last 19 years. Moving around as we did, we had to develop a ‘bloom where you are planted’ attitude; so to me, home is where my husband and daughters are.”
“Home is a state of mind because it brings me peace when I go back into familiar surroundings. The people who live in my community that I call home were the ones who nurtured me to become who I am today and it conjures up memories of my childhood. It brings me joy to visit my parents and other immediate family members. Going there also brings me back to a quieter, peaceful place in time where I can tap into my creativity. Home is a farm one mile west of Green, KS where I spent my childhood. It was here, and at my grandparents’ farm one mile north where I developed a foundation for studying agricultural history and performance, which later led to the development of personae in living history performance across the state.”
“My hometown was Haven, KS. I was raised on a small farm between Haven and Yoder, KS. ‘Home’ has always meant the farm no matter where I lived in my adult life. My parents lived there until 2009. They sold the farm and moved in with me here in Hutchinson, KS. I retired in 2009 and moved back to the area from north central Kansas. Now ‘home’ means our house in Hutch. Of course we all still miss the farm. My Dad was actually born in the house on the farm in 1926.”
“Home — A place that welcomes your presence. I think of home as your old family home — but it can be an apartment, a cave, a mansion on the hill, or what some might think of as a shanty, but as long as you can walk in the door and feel wanted, loved and able to be yourself you are HOME.”
“Home is your root; that secure place where you connect with your basic emotions and memories. While it may be an actual edifice, it may simply be a ‘place’ where the spirit of who you really are exists. ‘Going Home’ changes as you migrate through life. When you are very young, ‘Going Home’ may simply mean going to that special place where you can hide away; your room, a fort in the haystack, or maybe under a blanket on your mother’s lap. As you get older, ‘Going Home’ is going to that place where you are safe from the consequences of the craziness of your life or where you go to get your laundry done and some good home cooking before returning to college. ‘Going Home’ may simply be that voice on the other end of the phone when you call that all too familiar number, the voice you miss when your parents are gone. After your parents have passed and you become the oldest generation, ‘Going Home’ become that exercise of walking down the streets of your old hometown and trying to remember what store was in that building when you were growing up, trying to sort out the truth from all the memories that have become distorted by the egos of the friends you hung around with, who was related to whom, and driving by the ‘Old Home Place’ and wondering if it remembers you as you remember It.
“Home is where the sights and smells and sounds of your childhood reside. They will forever linger there, long after the physical presence of your parents, friends, and maybe even your old house, have gone. So, what do you find there when you arrive at ‘home’?; Peace and the connection to your past that allows you to believe in your future.’
“Going home ... that is bittersweet for me. My parents are both gone, but we still have their house in my home town of Lincoln, Kansas. When I go back and stay at the house it brings back memories of mom’s cooking. She used to make the best fried chicken and angel food cake with seven minute frosting. I think about all of the times we had together, 3 sisters and 1 brother and the times my daughters spent summers there and my parents getting to enjoy their great grandkids.”
“Following our May 21 E3 tornado, our little town of Reading has a new vision of ‘home’. Fifty-four of the 101 homes are gone and the rest are in varying degrees of repair. But, are they really ‘home’? All of those possessions and mementoes are gone, but does that change ‘home’?
Talk to our people about their new viewpoint of ‘home’ and what they know to be important now.
“My home no longer exists; It is a place that I can visit only in my mind and heart! My home was sold to support my Mom’s loss of independence.
“When I return to my home town, there are fewer people I know and fewer relatives still alive and many second cousins I don’t know the names of. We are related, but not personally connected. I am now my parents age and they are not here. I cannot truly return to my home anymore.”
“My dad was in the military so we did not have that home I was raised in, so going home was going to my grandparents farm north of Stafford. That house burned in a wild fire years ago. Some years later we settled nearby in the Sylvia area and raised our family here. Now WE are the grandparents and this is home...the kids and grandkids all come here to come home. The more things change, the more they stay the same!”
“I’ve had homes in RI, PA, FL and now KS. So I’ve learned and lived northern culture, southern culture and now midwestern culture. They all have been terrific places with wonderful family, great friends, fantastic history, fun, learning, beautiful scenery and opportunities to participate in community. Memorable places each and every one. That’s home to me.”
“Home is were you feel safe an are loved. Where God is present to you.
“Going home is the best feeling in the world. My Grandmother use to say ‘To know how sweet your home may be just go away but keep the key’ ”
“Arriving home is a great feeling. Love is all around and family is there to meet you. The smell of home can never be replaced.
“The meaning will never change for me. Home can be anywhere your heart is happy. Sometimes a place we call home changes and we have to know God is with us in our travels.”
“I’ve lived in many cities in the United States and also in Europe. I currently live and work in the town, McPherson, in which I grew up and which I left in 1964 to return in 2001. This is my earthly home and offers ne great emotional comfort. However, I have a higher home that stirs me to the bottom of my soul, and that’s the Catholic Mass. It’s wonderful that I can be profoundly at home wherever a Mass is celebrated.”
“Home is Kansas! Have traveled many places in the world over my 35 years in the travel business, it was always great to be landing at the KC Airport, and knowing I would be at home, in Kansas, in a matter of minutes. Having lived in Kansas for 64 years, it is indeed home ... home to history, KU, Lawrence, and all those wonderful places that make Kansas history wonderful.”
“The feeling for me was going back to the home I grew up in when mother and dad was still there. Having that warm and loving feeling just come over me as I entered the door with mom and dad ready to hug and kiss you ... or feed you. Feeling comfortable and happy. Going home is a great feeling to experience, rekindles your memories of a loving and caring home when you grew up.”
“My birthplace is Junction City, Kansas. I was raised there but left when I was 18. Coming home after being away for years, there was a feeling of comfort, even though the business fronts had changed, there was some new expansion, some things were gone. It still was ‘home’ and it has that same feeling even now.
“I only live a few miles away from there now, having lived around the state and the region as an adult. But when I go out of state to visit or on a trip, I am most glad to get back to Kansas again. Especially in the central part of the state. Kansas City and Wichita have no allure for me but the middle, that’s home to me.”
“For me out here in the county, home is where I do my own thing, might be working, building something or being lazy. When home I check the mail, pull in my drive and my dogs going crazy. My horses and chickens are hollering everybody wants fed everybody’s glad I’m home, each evening I watch the sunset. It’s a routine. Every morning, I look at the stars. I mind my own business. It’s my hide-out; get-a-way that I call home.”
“My definition of home cannot be separated from my definition of neighborhood and sense of community. I treasure the close bond of the neighborhood currently available to me and also the actual neighbors as individuals who look out for one another. My home provides me with a welcoming place to receive friends and family, also adding to the memories of the location where I lay my head, eat my meals, and prepare for whatever the outside world brings. ... those memories are from daily waves, greetings, partnerships, and challenges faced. It is where children are raised, where those grown children come home to visit, and where the older generation often returns to complete their lives. So, although, for me, that meaning has not changed much over the years, it is because I live very close to the neighborhoods in which I’ve lived and work most of my life and the homes provide such rich history of those before me. Changes currently that may damage the structure for me include the current challenge of losing our neighborhood school ...
“Otherwise, I am welcomed into a home with the memories of 4 families before me who called this home, and of the years of raising my sons here and, one with basic things for living, as well as the history before me.”
“During my career, our family has moved many times. A version of the question you posed to Marci is one my daughter faced in college. Her professor asked them to write something about their home town. My daughter called and asked ‘where is our home town?’ We decided, for us, it is wherever mom and dad live. The answer was not good enough for the prof because he wanted to make this answer part of a continuing assignment where physical place was important.
“I grew up in Bakersfield, CA. Moved to San Jose for College. Parents moved to Fresno, CA in my Junior year. I went back for a year of grad school before going in the Army. My wife and I were married and we moved to Indianapolis and Tacoma, WA while in the service. Afterward I worked in these cities:
“· Yuma, AZ—where the kids were born
“· Chula Vista, CA (San Diego)
“· Jerome, Idaho
“· Cave Creek, AZ
“· Baldwin City, KS
“· Concordia, KS
“· Hillsboro, KS”
“Home is where the heart is but heart is where the parents are or where you grew up.
“What does it mean to go home? To go back to where you were raised. Your parents are there and they love you for what you are.
“What’s there when you arrive?
“A good meal, no criticism, people who really are glad to see you.
“Has the meaning changed or will it be changing?
“The meaning will certainly change as we become busier, move more often, and allow monetary problems to affect home.”
“I spent many years living outside of Kansas and finally found my way back. Coming back home to Kansas means I’m actually a couple of hours’ drive from relatives, not a couple of days. It means I can take part in family events like reunions if I want to do it, and I don’t have to explain my family traditions to anybody because we all share them. If I bake Christmas cookies or something, people will say ‘Is this your Grandma’s recipe? It tastes like hers.’, instead of ‘I’ve never heard of this kind of cookie before. What do you call it again?’
“Coming home to my house means happy dogs greeting me no matter what kind of day I’ve had, or better yet, a happy husband who is in a good mood because he got home early. I can shed my shoes and I know the kind of tea I like is in the kitchen. The environment is set up for our comfort.
“I do think the definition of home is changing, with more people taking work home and more home offices. I once lived in a home where a business was located in the front part of the building and the phone number was shared with the residence. The public either thinks a person who lives that way can drop work at a second’s notice to go goof off with friends, or that living in the same building means the business is open 24 hours a day. With the erosion of manners in American society, this situation is getting worse for people with home-based businesses or jobs that follow them home. A home is supposed to be a sanctuary, but that safety and privacy is disappearing.”
“Home —a place to gather with family and friends. Where you can always count on at least one argument / disagreement / agreement of issues, ideas or whom ever brings up the issue. It is where your family celebrates that your brother (sister / father/ mother / wife, husband) is home on leave for Christmas. It is when and where you get to celebrate the special occasions, the weddings, the funerals, the memorial day parade, the family reunions ... to reconnect with your roots. Home is your roots, we may branch out like a tree, but it is our roots that keep us together. As our family grows and changes, our roots may spread, but we never forget where we came from, our Home. It might be a memory or a real place, but it is our memory that keeps it alive as we grow and change.”