My mother sold her house a few weeks ago, during those last frenzied days of the $8,000 tax credit. I moved into the house when I was three months old (born in Fort Knox, can you believe that?) and it’s the only house I grew up in.
If everything goes as planned, she will have moved out before I have a chance to go back to Baltimore and say goodbye. I thought I would be very sad about this. In fact, not so much.
It’s not that I don’t have a lot of warm, wonderful memories of the home. But, I’ve learned that I’m simply not that attached to places. After leaving my Baltimore home, I moved at least once a year, every year, until I turned 30. While I’m terribly nostalgic, that nostalgia is not really rooted to a particular address.
It occurs to me that this is, in part, because of my Jew-iness. So much of my childhood home is right here, in Western Massachusetts, in the rituals, melodies and foods that filled my young life. When I light shabbat candles with my daughters, or grant their pleads for seconds of noodle kugel, or listen to Zoe waltz through the house singing Dayenu, I’m here, I’m there, I’m at my great grandmother’s house in Boro Park, and I’m across the ocean in Poland.
In a week we celebrate our people’s origins as travelers. Whether wandering through the wilderness to receive the Torah, or hiking up to Jerusalem to offer baskets of fruit, we have always been on the move, and only sometimes because someone kicked us out. So, Mazal Tov, mom, for carrying on the tradition. We can’t wait to try out the new pool in the apartment complex!