Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Meaning of Home.

Yesterday I spent most of the day on the National Mall in D.C.; and being that it was a miserably cold Monday; I really wondered whether or not I would be able to enjoy myself outside walking from building to building. My skepticism was quickly removed however as I stepped into the Natural History Museum. Immediately upon entry, visitors are greeted by life-sized prehistoric animals and of course the giant remains of some of the scariest dinosaurs that ever existed. I was transported back to a time to when my son was about 3 years old....he begged and begged to see Jurassic Park and I wouldn't let him see it; finally I relented when he was about 5; then just as I feared, he proceeded to have nightmares for the next 3years!

As we made our way to the American History Museum I really started to take in the sheer volume of monuments and larger than life memorials dedicated to politicians, movers & shakers, soldiers, victims and heroes. And then it hit me, this is not just a place to honor the high achievers & the brave; we are all represented here because this is a snapshot, a concentrated cluster of sentiment and stories. These regular people were husbands & wives, mothers & fathers, sons & daughters each stepping forward throughout history to try to make a difference so that future generations could reap even greater success. And we (the ones who are left) feel certain helplessness because we know that their sacrifices were huge and that words can never truly express the gratitude felt in our hearts. The best we can do, is to try to ensure they are never forgotten by erecting massive amounts of cold and lifeless stone that can never quite capture the true, the raw and the sincere ~ this is definitely hallowed ground.

If you could reduce the formal etched memorials and commemoratives to the very core essence, you would find that the central them is very simple ~ the theme is home. We protect our home (and our homeland) and when we leave home, we are always looking to return there. The thousands of soldiers that are buried in Arlington plus the thousands more who are buried all over the country didn't know upon their deployment that they were seeing their homes & their homeland for the last time; and while they knew they might risk death, they didn't know for certain how they would return home if they were to return at all.

Inside the American History Museum I saw more of this same theme just represented in different ways. I saw Dorothy's Ruby Red Slippers ~ I imagined them tapping at the heel 3 xs and I could hear Judy Garland's voice, "There's no place like home." Then there is Archie Bunker's favorite recliner (which we all know was his territory as a man) in his own small kingdom he called home. There were the original Muppets gathered together dusty with frozen grins ~ I remember watching the Muppet Show on family night as they seemed to leap right out of the T.V. and into our living room. The marketing of the post war box to newly returning G.I.'s was one of my favorite exhibits, it reads: "A Kitchen for the Lady, A Den for the Returning Soldier and an Extra Bedroom for the Bundle of Joy!" I looked at the blueprints and saw a 2 bdr. 750 sq. ft. home with a 9 x 8 kitchen and thought to myself: "Wow, there was so much gratitude for these humble little homes back then.... now we have come to expect homes with granite & stainless in the kitchen." Have we truly become spoiled? The huge chunk of the Berlin wall represents the reuniting of a divided country; people were allowed to return home after many years apart where they we not even allowed to communicate in any possible way. And last, but not least I saw the heart of the home ~ the exact kitchen that Julia Child's used to create her gourmet magic ~ this was where I spent the majority of my time pressing my face to the glass trying to take mental inventory of all her amazing vintage gadgets, appliances and copperware.                                         A piece of her home = a piece of her heart that she left (as her legacy) for all to see, I can't wait to go home!


No comments:

Post a Comment