Memory of Home – Craving For A Place to Belong: From Merrimac to Marina Drive

Daiyaan sends a short text, “Daddy, I don’t want to come home because it hurts me too much, that we are selling the house.”

I take a deep breath and sit back; when I moved into this home, I imagined retiring from this place,  imagined Daiyaan’s wedding on the small patch of grass by our backyard; I had believed this as my final destination. In the next six weeks, we will be moving to a new place to live – smaller, more manageable for my new life.

I was in the pool last night– staring at the banana and coconut trees, listening to my favorite tunes – soaking in the happiness this home has given me.

A home has a lot of meaning; a lot of connections. When people move to new homes, sometimes they try to hold on, to their past, that has become the fabric of their souls. I have written in the past about Anchoring in an Uncertain Sea; as first generation immigrants, the concept of “anchoring” has a very special meaning, for many of us.

In my 45 years, this is the first home I have lived 5 years in one home; the first eighteen years of my life, with my parents in Bangladesh, we moved 6 times. In the last 18 years of family life, I have moved in-and-out of new homes, 7 times.

I bought my first home on Merrimac Road with a singular goal; to demonstrate to my family that I had finally attained “stability”:  I had a job, and I was pursuing the American dream. The small three bedroom home, without central air and only one bathroom, is where I moved into with my unstable sofa and a single mattress. The night before I signed the bank papers, my mother, coincidentally was visiting me in Toledo and complained incessantly about why I had to take on such a big “responsibility”.

Daiyaan and I at our first home on Merrimac Lane in Toledo, OH – Spring 1996

I started my career and family from Merrimac road;  I met my future wife and made her a cup of International Coffee one evening, the first time we met. I got married and brought her home here; we bought our first new car, a dark blue Toyota Corolla.  Our first child, Daiyaan came home and slept on my chest, the first night of my transition to fatherhood on a warm summer evening. There was a beautiful Dogwood tree on the front yard, which was in full bloom when Daiyaan arrived.

Daiyaan and I at our 2nd home in Perrysburg, Ohio Summer 1997

After 4 years of Merrimac Road, right around Daiyaan’s first birthday, we moved to our first custom-built home in Perrysburg, Ohio.  Since then, we have never stayed at a house very long. Fifteen years later, I arrived in South Florida; in between, we bought and sold, four other homes in far away places like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Colorado.

The first time I stepped into our new home on Marina Drive, I felt at peace; I believed,  I would retire and live in this home forever. Shania learned to swim, read and carve a pumpkin, at this home.

Shania carves her first pumpkin at our home!

Daiyaan finished middle school here. We went away to Spain, Australia, Morocco and many other places from this home. But every time we went away, I  felt that I could come back to this blue-green home, where I felt safe – I felt that my soul had a place to rest. The little patch of grass in the backyard, surrounded by coconut trees is where my imaginary hammock rests.

Daiyaan, Shania and I when we first came to our “blue green house” at Marina Drive 2007

Heartbreak, success, anger, celebration, pain, glory and variety other emotions are commingled in this space which has provided with shelter and continuity during a very tranquil and subsequently, a very difficult “turning-point” in my life.

When I sit outside on the patio, listening to the sound of our inter-coastal waters, I  feel peace; I feel blessed that I was given the opportunity to have this as my home for this period in my life.

With my uncertain, anxious heart, I send a text back to my daughter, “Baba,  A house is just a box – it’s where people live – the people are more important than the box”.  

I know by consoling her, I am consoling myself as I start the search for the next stage of my life.

Our backyard in Lighthouse Point Summer 2011
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12 thoughts on “Memory of Home – Craving For A Place to Belong: From Merrimac to Marina Drive

  1. Shoikoth, this tugged at my heart. Transitions are hard but you’re absolutely right, it’s the people that matter. Your kids will no doubt get to love your new place because all they need is your constancy. Best of luck with the all that’s ahead…love, Beas

    1. I know Beas. All that sounds good. But it still hurts. You know parenthood has no instruction manuals. So, one does the best they can do.

  2. Wow, Zain. I remember my family was invited to a party in your very first home in Toledo and we had good food and great time. Wish you good luck with your new life. Thank you very much for including me in your blog. I always enjoy reading them. Sincerely, Kunping

    1. Thanks, Kunping. I remember that evening with delight! Yes. We had some great times and entertained to our hearts content in that nice home.

  3. Zain, well written and from the heart. Change is not easy but somtimes necessary. I too am looking for my next opportunity and wonder what is in store for my family and I. Best of luck as enter another chapter in your life. Regards, Bill O’Connor

    1. Thanks, Bill. Let’s catch up some time. Life keeps changing but good friends are difficult to find. I appreciate your friendship.

  4. You guys made us feel home whenever we visited your house Zain..It surely is a beautiful and special place…

  5. Zain

    Nabokov, after migrating from Russia, preferred living in hotels, pensiones, sub lets, and short terms. He tried to avoid attachment to any house, furniture, or place.

    Since 1984 I probably moved 12-15 places, not counting the extended stays at the NY house of Bukhtiar and Biru and the comfortable couches of countless other friends. Moving is not always easy – at least for me.

    In 2010 I had a lovely evening in that house in South Florida with my kids and family. I remember the talk we had, standing right next to the special elevator behind a closet type door, about retiring in a house like this house.

    Well written piece Zain.

    Shuvo

  6. Zain, home is always there, you need to find it. Your journeys have made you wise. Imagine one is on a taxi, not really driving, but somewhat directing. One may have some control, but not all. Some rides are bumpy, some are smooth. You are wise and refined in the process.
    Ishtiaq

    1. thanks, Ishtiaq. I like it when you say, “home is always there”.
      I look forward to my “taxi ride” – Thank you always, for your friendship. See you later this month. Zain

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