When we moved to Connecticut from Texas in the summer of 2013, with a 4-month-old baby in tow, I would frequently joke, “This is it. We’re never moving again. This is the house he’s moving out of when he’s 18.” While my half-serious comments were mostly inspired by frustration around the buying, packing, moving, and unpacking process, they were also something I really wanted to be true. I deeply hope this house can be our forever home.
There are a lot of reasons I feel this way (and yes, one of them involves never wanting to pack up and move ever again) but I think the biggest reason is because of where I lived as a kid. The family homestead.
I grew up in the same house where my dad was raised. My grandparents built it in the late 1940’s. It sits on almost 30 acres, and to me, it’s pretty close to paradise. Designed by an architect who studied with Frank Lloyd Wright, it’s definitely reminiscent of places like the famous Fallingwater. Built into the side of a hill, looking over a creek and woods, it’s still a very special place to me.
We spent our Spring Break just last week visiting my parents there. It was wonderfully relaxing, not just because of the time with family, but because of the place itself. I loved walking around the property with my son, helping him climb up to the tree house that was built when we were kids, trekking on trails that I had memorized by age 5.
The property is something of a local legend in my tiny hometown, as well. This week, we walked through the woods to the elementary school playground just beyond, to give Little Man some much-welcome outdoor playtime. As we were walking back, we ran into a woman walking her dog. She asked where we were headed, and I heard my wife explain, pointing to me, “Her family’s property is just over there.” The response was immediate, “Oh, yes. You’re McCandlesses! G.C. was my doctor.” G.C. is what everyone–EVERYONE–calls my grandfather, who opened his medical practice in our town in 1929.
The house and property are a lot to take care of, and since none of the three of us siblings have ever shown much interest in moving back, I know my parents will probably sell it within the next ten years or so. I want to get back as much as possible in the meantime, to give my son as many of the wonderful memories of our family homestead as I have.
Because, I have a feeling, that place will always be “The McCandless Property.” And it will always be home.