Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Thirty Homes

I've often said that I want to live in a Jimmy Buffett song. This applies to many of his songs, but the one I most often think of is called "I Have Found Me a Home:"
You can have the rest
of everything I own
'cause I have found me a home.
I have had me lots of homes in my life, but none of them have ever made me feel like I'm in that song.

I recently told a friend of mine that I'd had "something like thirty addresses in my life." I wanted to be more precise about it, so I sat down this weekend and listed out all the places I've lived. Just having a list on a notepad didn't satisfy me, so I turned to my favorite recording mechanism, a spreadsheet.

I created a spreadsheet of all the different homes I've had in my life. (Click on image for full-size spreadsheet.) There are differing criteria on what constitutes a "home," but my spreadsheet tallied exactly 30 locations.


The first eleven are places I lived with my family as a dependent, although the definition of my family changed quite a bit over those eighteen years. Except for a three-month stint in a hotel in Caracas, Venezuela, all of these homes were houses. The first seven locations I lived in with my parents and all four siblings. Then, one by one, my brothers and sisters graduated high school and went off to college, never to return (at least not to live.)

The one place I think of as the "house I grew up in", we lived in for five years when I was in the first through sixth grades.

The house was out of our family for 26 years until my sister bought it last year. Now it's back in the family and we had SchreiberFest there last year. I'm still yet to live in one dwelling longer (five years) than I lived there, the house on Westwind Place.

When I was twelve we moved to North Carolina, but by then it was only my parents and youngest older sister. Eventually my sister moved back to Indiana, and then my parents got divorced, and my subsequent moving with and between mom and dad led to homes #9 through #11. Between North Carolina and the divorce, I attended seven different schools in three years. (Maybe my next spreadsheet should be all the schools I've attended.)

After I graduated high school I moved back to Indiana to live with my sister and her new husband and go to college. In the half year I lived with them, they bought a house, so I moved again.

At 19, I moved into my own apartment, a depressing little downtown one-room (not one bedroom, but one room) hovel with an uneven floor that sloped down. A prostitute lived above me and a loud married couple lived behind me. I remember the husband screaming once, as he stormed out on his motorcycle, "I WILL SEE YOU IN HELL, BITCH!!" They didn't have a phone, so they would ask to use mine on occasion.

That was my very first home away from family, and since then I've found much better places to call home. I've had 17 homes in the past 18 years. I include three host families in that number, which may be a stretch, but I did have my own bed and received mail there, so I count it. I've had at least 20 roommates, housemates, or bedmates.

My final tally of thirty homes includes 13 houses (4 rentals), 12 apartments, three host families, one dorm and one hotel.

I've lived in twelve cities in seven states and four countries.

But I've never lived in a Jimmy Buffett song. (I've visited a few of them maybe, but I've never received mail there.)

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