Remembering Where Home Is
by Louis Savalli
I finished the bike trails in 45 minutes. When I was a kid I swore it took hours, but as a 33 year-old I was done quickly. So what to do? I followed my heart. And by doing so, I remembered where my home is.
I pedaled through downtown Farmingdale, down Manetto Road, and arrived at the white house on the corner. I stopped my bike and let my brain go silent. While being on Long Island I wanted to go to Pinelawn cemetery and visit the final resting place of my grandparents, but I came to realize I was doing even better. I was looking at their old house - where they had lived, where my dad grew up, and where I played as a little boy.
The house had changed. They added a second story, a white fence, and they upgraded the siding and shutters. They redid the landscaping. I hadn’t seen the place much since the summer of ’94 when my grandfather passed away. But here I was today. And it was different, physically. But it was close.
I was close. I was the closest I ever felt to my grandparents and the true essence of my father. This was where he grew up. This was where he was an innocent little boy – this is the time in his life where he was the most free, and the closest to his own spirit. This was where my grandparents raised their family, much like I am raising my own family today. And this is where I played with my fire trucks and plastic bowling pins and would win a sugar ball for each strike I got.
I was so god damn close. I could see the property. I could see the steps, I could see where we’d walk up each time to go visit and walk into the house to see my grandparents. I just needed them to be there now. I was in the right place, and now I just needed my grandparents and my dad to be there and it would be like it always was. Like it used to be.
But the reality of the situation was glaringly present. It was 2015. I was 33 years old, not 7. The house and the yard did not belong to my family. It was borderline impolite that I stood there staring at it for so long. After being overwhelmed with emotion and tears, I realized another truth in that moment.
My grandparents and dad were there with me. We all decided to meet the day to reconnect, and they knew I’d be going there. And deep down before I even hit the trails that morning – I knew it too. The house had changed, the yard had changed, the whole block and neighborhood had changed. But my heart, my soul, and those I shared it with 25 years ago – had not. All of that was still there, right there with me, at that moment, reconnecting with me.
And I was connecting with me – a part of me that I thought I had lost, or was stolen. I didn’t have to come to Pinehurst and Manetto to find it, though it sure did help. I cried that day and I healed. I learned – no, I remembered – that you can go home again. You’re always home. Home is where the heart is.
Louis Savalli is long-time enthusiast of all things related to personal growth and spirituality. He currently resides in upstate NY with his wife and two children.