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Fischer: The wisdom of Oz — There’s really no place like home

By Jen Fischer - Special to the Standard-Examiner | May 26, 2023

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Jen Fischer

There’s no place like home. Stated three times while donning ruby slippers and tapping the heels together may or may not get you back to Kansas. Either way, everyone, eventually, will want to go back to a place they call home.

For Dorothy, home was a wood-framed farmhouse in the middle of a nameless wind-torn city in Kansas. Lifted away by a tornado and thrown into the strange and esoteric land of Oz, where monkeys fly and brainless scarecrows sing, Dorothy quickly becomes quite homesick. Frankly, I would have as well, given the circumstances. The whole story never really settled right with me. Toto will always hold a special place in my heart, but other than that, I never felt enriched by the fantastical narrative.

While it may seem a stretch, these thoughts occurred to me while visiting my mom on Mother’s Day (i.e., Female Parent Guilt Day, as I like to call it). My mom began life in an oversized bungalow in the center of Salt Lake City surrounded by seven siblings and a couple of traditional parents. Her father was an elementary school principal, and her mother was a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and stay-at-home mom, when she wasn’t traveling with the choir. She lived in this home until she got married at the age of 20.

After leaving home, my mom and dad called many different places home for the first several years of their marriage. Apart from a stint in Arizona, they lived in several rental homes in Salt Lake. Although each of those homes was “home” for them, it was difficult to settle knowing the place was not theirs. Once I came along, home for me was wherever my mom was.

Some eight years into their marriage, my mom and dad divorced. At that point, our home became the basement apartment of a triplex owned by my grandpa on the corner of 11th East and Fourth South in Salt Lake. Although my mom didn’t own this home, this was a place we settled in. My two sisters and I loved it there. We had no money, no air conditioning and little space to move around in, but we felt safe, loved and well-cared for.

A year and a half into our lives of bliss, my mom married my stepdad. At this point, our new blended family of nine moved to Bountiful, where two more children would join us. This was my mom’s first taste of homeownership. She would reside here until most of us had grown up and moved out. This home held few good memories for any of us, but especially for my mom. However, she did the best she could to make this place a home for all of us.

When I was 21 years old, my mom divorced my stepdad and eventually moved back to Salt Lake. Here, she made home in a townhouse with an unfinished basement. She finished the basement herself and cared for my two youngest siblings while teaching school.

Her next house purchase would be one of her biggest adventures as well. She finally married a gentle, kind and loving man and moved to Washington state, where they lived for several more years until they both decided to move back down to Utah and build a home in Farmington.

My current stepdad — the good, kind gentleman that my mom married after I had moved out — cared for my mom well into her years of dementia until he could no longer keep her safe at home. As a family, we agreed to place her in a memory care center where she could receive the level of care she now required. This is where I was on Mother’s Day this year.

After listening to musical performances by kind volunteers and eating some ice cream, my mom asked me to take her home. I walked her back down the hall and into Room 21. This is her home now. She thanked me, laid down on her bed and quickly fell asleep, worn out from the day’s festivities that took place away from her home.

There is truly no place like home. Wherever that may be.

Jen Fischer is an associate broker and Realtor. she can be reached at 801-645-2134 or jen@jen-fischer.com.


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