Safer at home

We bought the house I grew up in, which means I have been feeling safer at this home since 1971.

It juts out a little into the street so you can see the porch light from a good distance as you make your way south toward it. I have always liked that view, especially as I head home from a challenging day.

I used to stand on the front porch of my house and watch my children and their friends walk home from school. I loved the dance of their bright colored parkas and the sound of the chatter that traveled so much faster than they did. I knew then that, whatever drama, real or imagined, they’d experienced that day, they would all be safer at home.

Built in 1931, our house has creaky floorboards and good, thick walls. Those of us raised here think the noises and shadows protect us; visitors sometimes have to be convinced.

My sister Kathy used to think the tree shadows on the walls of her bedroom looked like firefighters and they made her feel safe. “I always felt like the firefighters were watching over us,” she said.

I recall the relief I felt at every age — as a child, teenager, young mother and now — as our car turned the last corner toward home following long road trips and I knew my own comfy bed waited for me on the other side of that familiar front door.

“I remember hiding in the room off the basement with Mom and Angie Wachs during a tornado,” my sister Jenny said. “I had no doubt the house would be fine.
I loved waking up in that house after an overnight snowstorm. Cozy and quiet.
Of course as you know I have hidden treasures in every corner of that house.”

Jenny used to practice her signature “Jenny the Great and Wonderful” in permanent marker all over the house. It still turns up every now and then.

Our house is kind of like one of my grandma’s granny square afghans. You can wrap yourself in its multi-generational quirkiness and warmth.

I also know the maternal comfort of the late night front door click announcing the last of my children had returned safely home.

I thought about that feeling yesterday after I read Wisconsin Governor Evers’ Safer at Home order.

We are all safer at home right now, and we’re helping other people stay safer as well. The way we perceive the next several weeks will help us weather the sometimes stifling inconvenience of responsible COVID-19 behavior.

So, we can look at the Safer at Home order as a burden, which it definitely is, or a privilege, which it can be. I’m going to call upon the memories of all the folks in my life who have made me feel safer at home as I hunker down for the next few weeks and appreciate what these four wonderful walls offer.

I’d love to hear your Safer at Home memories, and I hope you’re all healthy and staying well.

This is me in high school posing on my front porch in 1981.
And this is Molly striking the same pose on the same porch 34 years later.
I also felt safer at home when my mom would open the front door and call us in to dinner.
And when my dad was there to welcome us home.
And my Grandma Fey would come to visit.
And we would celebrate milestones with giant banners.
Like my sister Jenny’s high school graduation.
She was kind of a naughty little bugger, but she was a cutie pie too. “I always feel safer at home,” she said yesterday when I mentioned this theme.
I wish these rugrats were Safer-at-homing with me. The biggest brother is working out of his apartment in Queens producing some of Dr. Oz’s helpful Coronavirus segments and the oldest sister is working out of her apartment in Los Angeles. I look forward to a proper family reunion with all of them once we get the COVID-19 all clear.
I’m not crafty at all and my troubled relationship with Christmas lights goes back more than 30 years. But, I wanted to send a message out to my neighbors so I fashioned a heart out of wire hangers, bread ties and lights and hung it from my balcony. Love is even more contagious than any virus, if you ask me. Stay safe everyone.

12 thoughts on “Safer at home

  1. Great reading to start a new day.. Appreciating our homes is a good meditation activity. Thanks, Laura.

  2. I agree it’s a great reading to start this new day! In our humble abode across the park today we start a “new normal”. My husband is on a 30 day furlough from work…very weird as he’s been employed by the same person his entire working career…48 to be exact.
    We are blessed to have family across the park and the grand kids rollerblade through the park and wave to Nana and Papa as we continue our self imposed quarantine(actually mandated by our children for good reason). Thanks to FaceTime we can pretend to be with the “sillies”, the grandkids who live in Milwaukee.
    I’ve made several trips to the Goodwill drop off site which as of yesterday is closed. Spring cleaning will continue as I tackle my basement today…with my “helper”😉.
    Praying for great healing in this world!
    Stay healthy and safe.

    1. I’m glad you guys are staying safe and hope relief comes soon for all the furloughed workers. My mom has been very good about respecting the self quarantine as well. We drop her groceries off at the door.

  3. We are on day 12 quarantined in Spain. I really needed this today, since we are all going a little stir crazy. Waiting for our case numbers to go down, but today we are almost as 50, 000.
    Thank you for this beautiful piece. You are such an amazing writer.

    1. Thank you Julie. You are providing important context for this disease with your updates. I have been following closely. Hope Spain’s numbers turn around soon. Stay safe!

    1. Thank you! (Me too). He was the picture taker in the family so we don’t have a lot of pictures of him.

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