In Your Own Words: Sandra Heska King – Home

Home – noun \ hōm \

: one’s place of residence
: a familiar or usual setting
: a place of origin

“Home is where one starts from.” ~ T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets


I live in Michigan.

I originated “down state,” but I grew up “up north.”

I don’t think anybody knows for sure where “up north” starts, but where I live now is considered “down state,” but it’s not as far down the mitten as where I started.

Up north starts for me where the trees line the interstate, where I feel that familiar tug when my roots tangle with theirs. Where the air grows rich and heavy and sweet with memories. I see water shimmer between the cracks. We cross the county line, and then I see where my grandparents’ restaurant used to stand. My heart beats faster. We pass the Call of the Wild. I used to work there.

I was born in Dearborn. We moved up north when I was four. My parents bought a teeny house and four log cabins on a small lake. I spent most of my growing-up years there.

I was up north last week. But a dozen miles further north to Gaylord where my dad and sister and brother live now, to the place where I walked the aisle in cap and gown, to the place where I was married.

I went home.

House for Charity - 2

I walked downtown one day—or was it uptown?

I passed St. Mary’s School where I trekked over from the public school to take two years of Latin. I remember Sister Somebody striding up and down the aisle in what I think was a cream-colored habit, smacking a ruler against her palm, conjugating those verbs.

Across the way there’s a business center, kitchen shop, and yarn store taking up the old A&P’s space. We used to borrow grocery carts and race up and down the sidewalk on warm summer nights. One evening, Norm (I think it was Norm) showed up with a dead raccoon he’d picked up on the side of the road. Patsi and I sneaked through yards and propped it up in the driver’s seat of Sam’s car with its little paws clinging to the steering wheel.

My mom worked for two attorneys over on the other corner, and I worked there as a file clerk before and after school back when the old courthouse was still there. It’s gone now, too, demolished the year I graduated. Or maybe it was after I left for nursing school. I don’t remember.

I had a headache and needed some ChapStick®, so I decided to head down to Nelson’s drugstore—except I forgot it’s not there any more. Neither is Al’s or Glasser’s. You have to head west and across the tracks for drugs.

I used to love to wander around in Audrain’s Hardware. It’s gone.

The little theater is long gone. If you want to see a movie, you have to head west, again, for the multiplex.

Everything’s changed. And everything’s the same.

Like Glen’s Market. It’s Family Fare now. But it’ll always be Glen’s.

It was Alpenfest week. Main Street was blocked off for craft booths and carnival rides. The youth orchestra was playing under the pavilion. People milled around everywhere—and I didn’t see anyone I knew. Many of “my” people have either passed on or moved on.  The rest of us have changed so much, we probably just didn’t recognize each other.

But this town, this “up north,” is still my home. It’s the place that houses my earlier memories. This is the place that made me—me.  It’s the place I started from.

“We must be still and still moving,” wrote T.S. Eliot.

When I’m still, I remember, and my past calls to my present, and my present becomes my past, and I’m at home in the moment.

I’ve moved around a lot and called a lot of places home.

We lived in Georgia—down south—for several years. That seemed like home because my dream had always been to live there. But in a lot of ways, that time felt like a dream. Eventually we came home—to home.

There’s a river in Texas that feels more like home than any place I’ve been besides my Michigan homes “down state” and “up north.” The air in that Texas canyon is thin—and yet thick—with the presence of God. And I long to go back.

Where I sit now at this table, I’m surrounded by the phantoms of my husband’s people—who’ve become my people. This is my house, my now home.  My children and grandchildren live nearby. It’s comfortable here.

“In my end is my beginning,” wrote T.S. Eliot.

Or maybe in my beginning is my end?

I’m guessing I’ll never really feel at home in this world.

Last week I came home from home.

But one day I’ll go home.


Where is home for you? Where do you feel at home?




Sandra Heska King (AKA SHK) lives in Michigan and writes from a 150-plus-year-old family farmhouse set on 60-something acres surrounded by corn or soybeans or sometimes wheat. She’s a camera-toting, recovering doer who’s learning that just being still is just fine. Sandra blogs at and sometimes spills words in other places across the Internet. You can catch up with her on Facebook and Twitter.

In Your Own Words

An important part of bringing words to life is encouraging other writers with their words. In this regular feature, I invite other writers to write about one word that captures where they are in life at that moment, much like my own #wordoftheweek writing discipline. What is your one word?

Photos provided by Sandra Heska King, used with permission.

The winner of a copy of Jen Pollock Michel’s new book, Teach Us To Want, is Glenda Childers. I’ve contacted her directly to arrange shipment of the book. Thanks to everyone who left a comment and participated in the drawing. I hope you all are able to read the book.

*This website uses “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Guest User

Occasionally, I host other writers to share a little bit of their stories about growing in faith and experiencing true hope.

  • Heather Davis ,

    Shall we try again: 🙂

    Beautiful words! Thanks so much for sharing about your home. As a single, mature

    • Heather Davis ,

      Beautiful words! Thanks so much for sharing about your home. As a single, mature, no children woman I am intrigued by the question. I grew up in Paris, Ontario, a small town in Southern Ontario. My Dad was a pastor and by the time I was ready to start Kindergarten I had already lived in three places plus a trailer when we went on the road. Dad became an evangelist and remained doing that until he went Home ten years ago at 78. The decision was made to settle in Paris so my sister and I would be able to attend school without moving. The beautiful little town is where my Mom’s parents had moved their family when she was 13 so I was surrounded by and grew up with 19 cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. When my parents divorced when I was 25 my mom bought a house in the next city Brantford. It is just five miles away. By then I had graduated from college in Springfield, Missouri and had begun my still ongoing adventure as a teacher. Home was wherever my mom and sister were located. Now Mom is enjoying an active live at 89 years young in a wonderful retirement home and my sister is a grandmother of three boys. There is no family home anymore. I have taught in Canada and the US and then 10 years ago I became an international teacher. I spent 8 years teaching in Beijing, China and just completed two years Guatemala City. This coming Wednesday I begin a new adventure teaching Grade 5 in Hanoi, Vietnam. So, at 63 years old where is home? Basically, wherever I am now though when I return to Canada for holidays I always say “I am going home.” It is more a state of mind then location. When I move into my new apartment I will bring out the things I have brought to make the barren space feel homey. Interestingly enough though only one cousin still lives in Paris when we have our biannual family get togethers we always return to the Lions Park in Paris because we all grew up there and have wonderful memories. It feels like home. Wow, this turned out to be an epistle but your post obviously sparked something in me. Heather

      • Heather Davis ,

        Yippee, solved the problem. Do not put happy faces in comments.

        Sorry for the mess but thanks for your patience plus I learned something new.


        • Sandra Heska King ,

          I don’t understand why the emoticons would be a problem, Heather, but I’m so glad you persisted.

          What a full life of adventure you’ve led/are living! It’s hard not to be a little envious. I’ve read through your story several times. You’re only two years younger than I am, and I can’t imagine picking up to go live alone in a foreign place now. But you’ve made me feel younger and given me hope. 😀

          I love this: Home “is more a state of mind than a location.” Your heart holds your home, and you bring it and continue to create home in “strange” places–all the while knowing you’re only on a journey to your real Home, the place you started from and will return to.

          And now I’m thinking of Emily Dickenson’s words: “Where thou art, that is home.”

          What you’ve shared here is just beautiful. Thank you! And God bless you as you begin this new adventure.

          • Heather Davis ,

            Thank you so much for your patience and your response. It is wonderful to chat with someone who is a baby boomer. I feel very blessed of God to have the opportunity to travel and work. If I stopped I am not sure what I would do. 🙂 keep up the terrific words.

      • Sandra Heska King ,

        Sure. 😉

        I got hold of Charity. She doesn’t have internet access at the moment. She’ll take a look at things tonight. Sit tight and come back later, okay? Cuz I really want to hear your thoughts.

        • Heather Davis ,

          No problem. It has shown up at the top as a reply. Very strange but you should be able ot see it now.


      • Heather Davis ,

        Beautiful words! Thanks so much for sharing about your home. As a single, mature

        • Heather Davis ,

          Still not showing. Ok going to try something else. I apologize for the mess I am making.


          • Sandra Heska King ,

            Well, that’s just weird. No worries. (The comment count looks really good. Ha!)

            YooHoo, Charity?

            • identicon

              Charity Singleton Craig ,

              So sorry for all the mess, Heather and Sandy. Glad that you got things figured out and were able to have a good conversation. I was off visiting my nephew and then came home to a full weekend of family activities.

              Heather – I love hearing more of your story, and I also have found that often home is wherever I am. At this season in my life though (a new season for me as a recently married woman after a lifetime – 42 years – of singleness), I am struggling more with a sense of home having moved in with my husband and step-sons. I am fighting in my heart to feel at home. I think God is at work in this process.

              Thanks to both of you for your persistence and patience and friendship.

        • Jillie ,

          Hi Sandy…I have only ever lived in this area of south-western Ontario. I’ve never travelled to exotic places, seen outstanding sights. I am a homebody by nature. Besides, I don’t have the kind of money needed to travel or even move from here. 🙂 Yet, this is my home away from Home. We’ve raised two terrific kids and 3 dogs in this house. It’s old, but it serves its purpose. I do struggle with wanderlust here and there, and envy of those who have been where I imagine I’d like to go–England, Australia, Utah, the Grand Canyon. And when life gets tough here, I joke about “running away to Montana”, a place I picture with mountains, trees, horse ranches, wide-open spaces. I once ran away to Regina, Saskatchewan, on my way to British Columbia to live as a hippy, but dang it all, I missed home, my siblings, my life here. Came back and never left again. Wonder what that says about me? One things for sure, I cannot wait for my mansion in the sky! My real and eternal Home.

          • Sandra Heska King ,

            I’d like to know a little more about that hippy life. 😉

            I’ve gotten to travel some–mostly due to conferences or job moves and husband’s travel that came with frequent flier miles and hotel points. I’ve been able to go to Haiti twice and plan to go back this year–though any sightseeing is confined to a small area. So many places I still want to go. I’d love to travel through Canada and visit the Grand Canyon and running away to Montana sounds like fun. Or Australia even when I haven’t had a no-good, very bad day. And Africa, Israel, etc., etc.

            I don’t always like coming home–to the house where I live–because of having to unpack and deal with the mess I left. Then I can settle back in, and it’s all good. Because truly… there’s no place like home, right?

            And our real Home? Well won’t that be fun. 😀

            Thanks so much for coming by, Jillie.

            • identicon

              Charity Singleton Craig ,

              Jillie – I moved away from my home state a couple of times looking for more adventure, and I too quickly found my way back. It’s interesting how very little travel satisfies my own wanderlust, and then I’m always ready to go back to my place of routine and quiet. Thanks for coming by.

          • Lynn Mosher ,

            LOL I love the raccoon story. I wonder what happened when the car owner saw it! And I didn’t know Chapstick was good for headaches. I’ll have to try that. 😉 I always love your posts, you know that. Even if I don’t always comment. Your words touch those places in me that I didn’t even know needed touching.

            Home, for me, has always been home. Same place where I will soon have my 50th high school reunion. And it will always be home. Until that Eternal Home overtakes this earthly home. Thank you, Charity, for allowing my chocolate-dipped-Brussels-sprouts-eating friend to share her beautiful words with us.

            • Sandra Heska King ,

              LOL! I still can’t believe we did that. He was one of our star basketball players. And I never heard any feedback from it.

              My sister was born on the lake–well, in the hospital and then came home to live in the house near the lake. 🙂 She’s been in Gaylord all her life, too, except for a brief few months in Ohio. I still try to grasp what that would be like. I do think, though, it was good for our marriage to move away from family for a season and learn to depend on each other.

              And say what? You’ve never smeared Chapstick on your head when it hurts? You should try it. Really. Maybe you need video directions?

              Love you big, Lynn.

            • identicon

              Charity Singleton Craig ,

              Lynn – It was such a pleasure hosting Sandy here. She’s such a beautiful writer and beautiful person.

              Chocolate-dipped brussel sprouts? Hmmm . . . I think I need to hear more about that.

              • Lynn Mosher ,

                LOL You NEED to ask her! She can even show you! Too fun!

            • Heather Davis ,

              Sorry for the double post but I wrote a long reply and sent it obviously twice but the first line is the only thing showing. I don’t know why. Maybe the length? Anyway please delete the two incomplete comments. Thanks


              • Sandra Heska King ,

                I’ve been waiting for the full post, Heather. I’m still wondering where you were going with the “single, mature… ” Please come back and finish. The length shouldn’t be a problem.

                Maybe Charity can find it in the comment dungeon?

                • identicon

                  Charity Singleton Craig ,

                  Heather, I was able to delete a couple of the entries that showed only the first line. Sorry again for all the trouble. I’m not sure what happened.

              • Megan Willome ,

                Ah, that river in Texas!

                I love how you wove T.S. Eliot into this post. I couldn’t do it. I still don’t get him.

                • Sandra Heska King ,

                  I’ve decided not to try to get him. I just let his words speak to me. Could be way out of context. I don’t care.

                  • identicon

                    Charity Singleton Craig ,

                    Megan and Sandy – I think there’s something very homelike about that river, too! Love you both.

                • Donna ,

                  Nice post Sandra! Thanks for the tour. 🙂

                  After several moves we committed to staying put so that the kids would be able to have an answer if someone ever asked them where they’re from (and someone will always ask). After nearly 15 years, for the most part, they hate it here. So much for good intentions. But, in spite of it all we have found a good life. Still, I wonder… is it possible to be always home and also not home at the same time? I guess home is where I am at the moment.

                  • Sandra Heska King ,

                    “Is it possible to be always home and always not home at the same time?”

                    Good question, Donna.

                    Maybe it goes back to definitions of home–like the place where we live, or the place where we feel safe and comfortable and cared for, or…

                    Do kids ever like where they live while they are still kids? I know of so many, though, who’ve moved away to experience the world–and in later years come back “home” to roost.

                    • identicon

                      Charity Singleton Craig ,

                      Donna – I agree with Sandy. I think so many people grow up feeling like their world is too small and the world “out there” is so big, so they want to go see it. And I think it’s a good idea if they do. But I know a lot who come back and make their own small little world better because they gained a broader perspective by meeting people and exploring other places.

                      I think we all have a sense of being home but not home until we get to our final home. That’s my sense, at least.

                  • Diana Trautwein ,

                    Lovely reflection on ‘home,’ friend. I think I’ve felt at home everywhere we’ve lived. But we raised our kids in the Pasadena CA area and I guess I think of that as my original home. Not so much where I lived with my parents, interestingly enough, but where I was a parent.

                    • Sandra Heska King ,

                      Not so much where I lived with my parents, interestingly enough, but where I was a parent.”

                      That *is* so interesting, Diana. For me, there’s still that pull to woods and water because, maybe, as a young child, that’s when life was so much more simple and safe. It seems like we always had extended families and friends around. Plus I found being parented a lot easier than parenting. 🙂

                      When we moved here to the country, I was excited because I could be an “earth mom.” I could throw myself into the country wife role. But it’s always been kind of disjointed–maybe because though my husband grew up on the farm, he doesn’t farm. 🙂 Also, as you know, we’ve had some pretty bad experiences here. I love our space, though, and the wildlife–but I still long for the water where I could jump in my rowboat at any moment. At least we have “Lake Abby.” 🙂

                      • identicon

                        Charity Singleton Craig ,

                        Diana – What an interesting thought that your home with your children became more home to you that the home when you were a child. I just realized that at least one place I think of as home is my mom’s house, but I hardly lived there at all. She and my step-dad moved there after I was in college. I think I associate home with her more than any other specific place or person.

                    • Jody Lee Collins ,

                      Where is home for me? I’ve lived in Seattle area for over 20 years but I still think in my heart Southern California where I grew up is ‘home’. Where do I feel at home? At my desk in my study reading or writing. Or in my garden.

                      Thanks for asking.
                      And thanks, Charity, for inviting Sandy.

                      • Sandra Heska King ,

                        So sometimes the places we’ve lived may or may not evoke a “homey” feeling?

                        Sometimes home may center somewhere else or with something else–a place where we feel comfortable, where we see ourselves flourishing, where we feel safe–like in a garden. Unless there’s a snake hiding in it. 😉

                        • identicon

                          Charity Singleton Craig ,

                          Jody – I was so thankful Sandy agreed to write on my blog. It’s great having her.

                          And your idea of home as the garden or your study adds an important dimension of what it means to be “home,” I think. It’s the place where we are most ourselves, maybe.

                          Thanks for your comment.

                      • Sandra Heska King ,

                        Thank you, Charity, for inviting me in for tea and popovers. I love your home.

                      • HisFireFly ,

                        perfect timing for me
                        who will be leaving the home that has become my home
                        to find a place that will also be home
                        yet none of them truly home at all

                        home is where my spirit rests
                        in Him, and Him alone

                        • Sandra Heska King ,

                          And you are going to help create a sense of home for others, Karin. There are so many definitions of home that it’d take up the whole space to share them. But they include a place where people are cared for, where they find affection and security, where they can begin to flourish. You and Rick are going to help make that kind of place for them.

                          • identicon

                            Charity Singleton Craig ,

                            Karin – Yes, home will be something entirely new for you and Rick, soon. I am so excited for what the Lord has ahead of you.

                        • Home - Sandra Heska King ,

                          […] visiting my friend Charity Singleton Craig’s online home today. Won’t you pop on in and join us? She’s got coffee perking and tea […]