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What makes a house a home?

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CALOGrowing up means leaving behind some of the influences that have molded me. Going to college in a few months means moving away from my friends, family and community.

But until recently, what I’ve failed to really process is that I will also be leaving behind something I’ve thought about less often: my house.

When we first moved in, every room was foreign. I remember meandering through each one as an 8-year-old, awed by the newness. Now, almost 10 years later, I feel intimately attached to every nook and cranny.

So this is a thank you to my house, which, when I look at it typed out, is an odd gesture of gratitude. It’s just a house, isn’t it?

Just a structure with a base and foundation, four walls to each room and a roof fastened on top?

No. After spending more than half my life in this particular structure, I’m coming to realize it’s much, much more than that.

My house is not just a house to me; it’s become my home.

The window in the living room filters the afternoon light in the most dazzling manner. I have come home from school on dozens of sunny afternoons and sat myself on the couch, often next to one of my sleeping cats who love the rays just as much as I do. I’ve felt the warmth ignite on my skin as I watched the radiant display of dust particles quiver in the sweet, yellow light.

I have a deep appreciation for the window bench in my room, which has gone from holding my collection of stuffed animals to my stack of paper-stuffed notebooks from courses present and past. It’s been the ultimate team player when instructions are shouted at me from downstairs to “make the floor of my room visible by Thursday.”

And of course, how do I describe my admiration for my bedroom walls? They are painted my favorite color, dark blue. It’s what I like to describe as the shade of the sky in the summer when the sun has set but it isn’t quite dark yet. The blue that has blurred in my vision on countless weekend nights spent giggling with my friends, wiping tears of laughter from my face. The blue that was the only fellow witness to our secrets and stories.

In theory, I could go anywhere in the world and paint a room the hue of blue that coats my bedroom walls. I could track down that exact color. Its official name is “Queen of the Night,” which is somehow fitting given my night owl tendencies.

But there’s nowhere else that could ever capture the innocence of my youthful days like those walls have, like this whole house has.

Perhaps it is the knowledge that I will soon be moving out of this house that makes me appreciate it more. Regardless, isn’t it peculiar how attached we can grow to the most arbitrary things?

This home on a corner lot stirs an alarmingly sentimental feeling within me. The groan the front door makes when I fling it open has become a familiar soundtrack. Even thinking about the stupid stop sign right outside — which nobody stops at — can put a lump in my throat.  

Anybody can move into a house and fill it with their stuff. That’s easy. The remarkable part is when you cram your house to the brim with memories and love.

I’ll miss my home when I leave it. But that’s the way it is. It’s not a bad thing to move around and create new homes in new places. I’ve always known I wouldn’t stay in this house forever.

But even though I will move on, every part of this place, from the windows to the bench to my “Queen of the Night” blue walls, will always remain in my heart.

Lakeridge High School senior Katie Calo is a regular columnist for The Review, and she can be reached at education@lakeoswegoreview.com.


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