What does “home” mean to each of us? The question seems simple enough, but the varied answers are unimaginably expansive. A home is built by the shared experiences of those that live inside—the warmth of others, the reflection of solitude, the love sewn into the structure itself.
In trying to get a deeper understanding of what the word means to all of us, I interviewed a few friends who have strong ties to the notion of “home,” to discover how they created their safe space and what went into the process for them. We know that home shelters us while we grow and evolve--that it can serve as something of a safety net while our lives continually change. That it is truly an expression of our very selves.
In interviewed my good friend Pearl (Chelsea) Laterza, a local hairstylist at Green Salon & Stef’s Barbershop, and it was an eye-opening chat. She sees the world differently than most...she has something of a softer look on life, and much of that has been shaped by shared experiences with others in past homes.
"I love my front porch because it's very transparent and feeds my extroversion."
Samuel Green: Describe to me a place you lived that has really stuck...that has given you the truest feeling of "home."
Pearl Laterza: I have lived a lot of places. I lived in my tent for over a year of my life, I’ve lived in a chicken coop, I’ve lived under staircases, and in cellars, because I was more interested in travel and experience than finding a stationary home for a lot of my life. I had to really think of where I refined that value system. For five years, I lived in this house called "The Wild Animal House." It's by the downtown library. It used to be an old milk store, so it has a very unique storefront appearance...built in the 1920s or 1930s or so. We had people in every room. There was a permaculture garden that took over the whole yard. We did this thing called "food, not bombs," where we would get free food that was expired from the grocery store, so I didn’t spend a single dime on food. We had so many people there...it was so cheap, I swear some days I would spend no money at all. We worked together, played together, did community activism together. We made art together, we read together, we watched movies together, we went out and danced together, we’d clean the house together. So that was the place where I really refined my values and decided what "home" meant to me. That was probably the most significant amount of time I spent in one place too.
SG: In a scenario with endless possibilities (wherein you have no financial limitations), describe how your home might look/feel:
PL: I like complete self-functioning, where everything is moving on its own. So the house is heating and cooling itself based on the seasons, the temperature, where all the windows are placed, and trying to not plug in electrical items. I love the Earthships in New Mexico. They do a sick grey-water system where they start with the sink, then the sink water goes to the secondary water, like toilets. From there, it goes to the garden, so you can grow some vegetables and herbs. I like low fossil-fuel usage with max functionality in one space.
SG: What room in your home makes you feel the most "you," and why?
PL: Ok, since it's my own place, all of them! But, the one that I feel the most "me" in? My bedroom is the runner up, and the first is my front porch. That is where I spend most of my time. It's where I eat most of my meals, drink most of my drinks, and smoke most of my smokes. I just sit and chat with the passers-by all day and listen to music. I’ll hold work meetings there. I love my front porch because it's very transparent and feeds my extroversion.