Earlier this week on my show, I enjoyed talking to Melody Warnick about her book, This is Where You Belong; Finding Home Wherever You Are, now out in paperback. She has lived in many places during her life, including a few years spent in Silver Spring, Maryland. She says that when it comes to getting attached to a place, “If you want to love your town, you should act like someone who loves your town.” Seeing how some 40% of all moves take place during the summer months I thought this might be an interesting subject to blog about in the middle of July. If you’re moving soon or maybe you’re new to the Baltimore area you might want to pick up Melody’s book, she has lots of good ideas about how to make a city feel like home (walking to places whenever you can, joining a local organization, getting to know your neighbors).
When I was on vacation a couple of weeks ago my husband Ed and I talked about all the decisions we’ve made over the years related to where we were going to live and how those decisions affected the course our lives would take. My family moved quite a bit. I was born in Minneapolis but only lived there until I was two when my parents took me and my then, three other siblings, to Detroit Michigan. We lived there until I was seven when we packed up again and moved to a different city in Michigan, Grand Rapids, hometown of our 38th president Gerald R. Ford. I lived in 3 other homes before I graduated from college and moved back to Grand Rapids where I was going to marry Ed who was born and raised there. It’s the city where we met and started dating when I was 16 and he was 18. It’s the city where we bought our first house, six month’s after we got married, (pictures of the house) where we adopted our first dog and had our first child.
By the way, that one bedroom house was purchased for just $17,000 in 1978.
We stayed in G.R. until 1984 when I got a job offer in San Diego, California (KBST). It was a short lived job and soon after we left there I said “yes” to doing the morning show at WPOC (1985) in Baltimore, a city we had never even been to before and where we didn’t know a single soul. We really had no idea what neighborhood we should pick to live in. Our first two weeks were spent in the Belvedere Hotel, and that’s all the time we had to look for a more permanent place. Graham, our only child at the time, was two. We ended up renting a row house in Federal Hill for two years so that we could take our time getting to know the area and then make a more informed decision about where we should buy. We learned a lot about Baltimore city and the Inner Harbor during those first few years. Every Saturday we’d walk to the Cross Street Market just a few blocks away. We’d take Graham down to the amphitheatre between the shopping pavilions on Light St. in December to hear “A Tuba Christmas” and to stop by Santa’s house. During the warm weather months you could watch the crab races or visit the outdoor seal exhibit at the National Aquarium. And of course there was the carousel, we always had to take a ride on that. While renting in Federal Hill we took in our shepherd mix Kate who had been living on the streets and would somehow always take a nap in front of Martini Lutheran Church, the church we always walked by on our way to the market. It took her awhile to adjust to being an indoor dog but it all worked out in time. Our golden retriever, Boz (you see him as a puppy in the photo of our first house) died shortly after we landed in Baltimore and we were in need of another furry friend to make our home complete. We’d spend time at the Galleria if we were looking for inexpensive dinner ideas, they had a food court which was perfect for our little family who was on a tight budget at the time. From renting to buying, our next home was in Butchers Hill near Patterson Park where we lived for the next three years. We loved all the activity at the park, we’d go to concerts in the summer, watch ice-skaters in the winter and of course there were daily walks with the kids and our dog Kate. Yes, kids, plural, that was the home Taylor was born in. We were also gifted with a rabbit while we lived there (Roger Rabbit) a creative Easter offering from Ed’s mom and dad. We loved taking out of town visitors to Haussners it had the biggest menu of any restaurant in town and the artwork on their walls was amazing! It opened in 1926 and served Baltimoreans for 73 years, becoming a famous landmark over time. We were sad when it closed. I still have the black sundress I got at Epsteins department store more than 25 years ago, I just can’t seem to part with it. Eventually we moved to Baltimore county but I’ll always remember our first five years living in Baltimore city with great fondness, those experiences helped us learn to love our new town. I can now proudly say that even though I grew up in the Midwest I have lived in Charm City for most of my life. I really do feel at home here. What city feels like home to you?