I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes home feel like home. People say it’s the people. I’m not really sure.

I lived with my family for a year in a dark, dismal basement apartment. It never felt like home, even though I was with my family. Even though I really tried with all my might to find some joy in that miserable place.

Why was that? Was it because we were deprived of natural light? Was it because we didn’t have all our stuff? Or because we thought we were going to be there short term and it just dragged on and on? Or maybe because we just couldn’t feel settled? I don’t know. I think it was probably the lack of natural light (and maybe also all the bugs and the stinky, moldy basement atmosphere).

Tonight really felt like the old home we know and love down in Unit 1, my parents unit. My mom set a long table for lots of people, my dad made pasta Bolognese, and dinner was noisy and chaotic. This is essentially how things have been down there since 1982 with the exception of the past year, when we all moved out to convert the house to a two-family.

Unit 2, our unit, is totally new though, so it’s not a matter of getting back to how things were for us. So I wonder, what is that thing, that moment, that perfect set of circumstances that makes a place feel like home?

And I wonder, does this slice of Gail’s famous cheese bread look like Martha’s Vineyard?