Sharing Space, Ideas, Chores, and Love

Homes with Hank

The fifteenth house that I lived in was the beginning of living with Hank.

15. If I had to divide my life into phases, this most recent phase started when I met Hank in 1988. We’ve often said we were led to each other, at just the right time, and we both had the good sense to recognize a good thing crossing our life radar screens. We’ve been building a life together over thirty years and four homes – first with a blended family in Lincoln Park New Jersey. That was my beginning with Hank and extending love to two step-daughters. A story about blending a family?

Two Alphas in Empty Nest Homes

16. After the “girls” moved out on their own, a loft condo in Little Falls was where friends gathered as Hank and I honed our home entertainment style. Holiday parties top my memory chart, when Christmas tree decorators leaned over the balcony to get that star on the top of the tree, or tossed confetti “snow” down on the guests. 


17. I think of the next condo in Lincoln Park as our space and room to “grow.” This was the metamorphosis house, stepchildren on their own, a growing grandchild, an aging mother, my retirement from teaching, building a new career and seeing myself as a professional speaker and writer.

My personal hub was my office. I had a spacious corner room upstairs where I witnessed the changing seasons in New Jersey. I could look out from my desk and see turkeys doing their tipsy walk, wings flapping, out in the woods in the fall. One winter morning when the world was completely silenced by falling snow, I looked up from my desk to see eight deer walking in single file across the back lawn.

This home was large enough that Hank had his own office too, next to mine. Privacy but not far away.

18. Now it’s 2019. We’ve made our home in Tucson Arizona since 2009. It’s our “retirement” home although I have yet to retire. Hank and I have different interests; I go off for a morning walk at a labyrinth, he golfs. I meet storytelling colleagues, he goes on long hikes. We share the energy of a writing group in our home. We bike and play tennis together. We have planning meetings for “things that need to be done.” Evenings usually find us sharing dinner, walking in our community, reading or looking at a new movie on TV. Another Haven. A Comfort. The Next Adventure.

Eighteen homes, certainly more than eighteen stories.

I realize safety in the structure and layout of my homes has been important. We’ve decorated each home with care and things that have personal meaning. We enjoy connecting with people and inviting friends to our home, I’ve sometimes experienced a tangible feeling of very positive energy while watching friends talk, laugh, sing, or write with us. The gift they leave when they go home is bits of that positive energy.

What’s special about your home?

Ethel Lee-Miller blogs regularly about people, the power of words, and the writing life. She is the author of Thinking of Miller Place, and Seedlings, Stories of Relationships. She also enjoys sharing stories at Odyssey Storytelling, Tucson Tellers of Tales, and just about anywhere there’s a mic.