“Home is where the heart is.” We have heard that description of “home” countless times in our lives. We have seen it painted on kitchen plaques and embroidered on couch pillows. It sounds like the epitome of Americana, born from sweet American sentimentality. But it is not a uniquely American thought. In fact, the author of those words, Pliny the Elder, was born in Rome nearly 2000 years ago. Centuries earlier King Solomon wrote that “the Lord blesses the home of the righteous” in Proverbs 3:33 and instructs us to “get your fields ready, and after that build your house” in Proverbs 24:27.
We consider the homes of early American patriots to be an important part of our heritage. We visit places like Mt. Vernon and Monticello to pay homage to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Many of us at our Pennsylvania office have wandered around the little house in Philadelphia where Betsy Ross sewed her famous flag, and the log cabin where Abraham Lincoln read by candlelight is etched into our collective conscience.
Homes have been featured prominently in literature and in the movies those books spawned. Jay Gatsby’s mansion in The Great Gatsby symbolizes the grandeur and to some extent the emptiness of the Roaring Twenties. Margaret Mitchell’s Tara changes throughout Gone with the Wind to show how the plantation lifestyle and the southern antebellum way of life disappeared with the end of slavery, never to return again. Shirley Jackson was inspired by the Winchester Mystery House when she conjured up the scary home that was the setting for The Haunting of Hill House, and she created another odd home to mesmerize her readers in her wonderful novel, We Have Always Lived in a Castle.
Many of us can recall as youngsters watching television shows featuring homes where the young characters grew up and thrived. The Little House on the Prairie was where good parents taught their children valuable life lessons and where Laura Ingalls proclaimed, “Home is the nicest word there is.” And most of us were touched by the love and homespun wisdom that was regularly on display in The Waltons’ poor yet idyllic home on Walton Mountain.
As inspiring, scary, or enchanting any of those homes are, however, the homes that mean the most to us are the ones where we grew up or in which we raise our families. The hundred-year-old brick house I shared with my five siblings and my parents when I was kid is such a home, and I fondly remember each nook and cranny of it. The large inside window seat at the front of the house is where we would perch to wait for our parents to come home from work or watch for the doctor’s car to pull up if one of us was sick. My grandmother gave me a fish tank one Christmas, and my parents let me put the tank on that seat where it stayed until I grew tired of keeping fish and the last one died.
There was an old closet under the steps where we kids kept our toys. I recall throwing my baseball glove in there when football season would start. By the next baseball season the glove would work its way to the back of the closet, and I would dig through basketballs, football helmets, rubber boots, and hockey sticks until I’d get to my glove. The closet was a kind of calendar, and if I was digging my glove out, it meant that spring was about to arrive.
All eight of us would pack into our kitchen for meals, and afterwards our father would show us an interesting story in the newspaper, or an older sibling would ask about a car advertised for sale or about a job she saw in the help wanted ads. We would gather in the living room at night, our father usually laying on the floor and our mother perching nearby next to the radiator to keep warm, each of them leaving the chairs and the couch for their children to use. When my oldest brother left home, I was given his bedroom on the third floor, the first time I had my own room. My parents bought me a can of paint. I remember painting the room blue and feeling like I had arrived.
I have seen or read about many grand homes in my lifetime, but I would not trade my memories of that old house on Water Street to have lived in any of them.
Builders & manufacturers are uniquely positioned to influence the lives of not just their customers, but of every family who will ever live in the homes they build. There is probably no other product that affects so many people over such a long period of time. You might build a home where a future president, the first person to walk on Mars or the doctor who discovers the cure for cancer grows up. But even if you don’t, you will build homes in which children will be nurtured, where important life lessons will be taught and learned, where joy can abound, and where memories will be created that will last multiple lifetimes. What a great business to be in and what a noble calling!
We are proud of our builders. We know how well they ply their craft, and we know they want to provide the best homes for their customers. Here at MHWC, we believe the best home you can build is one that is backed by an MHWC warranty. We are biased, of course, but we believe that, if you compare us to the competition, you will arrive at the same conclusion.
We appreciate your business, your confidence in us, and your commitment to building great houses that generations of Americans will call home.
Have a great spring and summer!