It was my dream home, and in it I saw dreams come true

Carole Henaff for the Boston Globe

After one year of living in a small apartment and three years of renting a town house, I was ready for something more permanent. The first time I saw the Colonial that would be my first house, I wondered whether my husband and I would be able to afford it on his single salary. It was in Lexington, where we wanted to relocate. I liked the way the kitchen and family, living, and dining rooms flowed into one another and yet maintained their distinct areas. The staircase had a balcony from which my husband could easily toss something down to me. The Colonial was my dream house.

We were able to finance the mortgage and move in. I spent hours reading in the sunroom, enjoying the swirl of the fan’s blades that reminded me of India, and looking out at the backyard view, which, depending on the season, was rich in foliage or white with snowbanks and trees dripping icicles. The upstairs study was cozy, lined with books against a wall. I loved baking while my husband watched football on TV because though he was in the family room and I was in the kitchen, we were still together, savoring the aroma of cookies or muffins or cakes. When we returned from vacations jet-lagged and tired, I’d lie on the floor, admire the fanlike brush marks on the ceiling, and think home sweet home.


As the years went by, the house and I cried out to hear the patter of a child’s feet. The Colonial had always had children until we came. Fortunately, after eight years in this house and before our 11th anniversary, our dream came true. I’ll never forget the moment when my husband and I returned from the hospital and stepped into our home for the first time with our son. As Rohit grew up, the sound of his footfalls descending the stairs was music to my ears. He marked his terrain with a crayon in the living room, red lines still preserved today. We consider it precious artwork.

Rohit was never as comfortable anywhere as he was at home. He preferred to have his friends over rather than go to their houses. The sunroom functioned as a toy room, with his belongings strewn around after a play date. The kids picked crab apples and cherries from our garden.

I pampered Rohit’s and my friends with food, letting the aroma of pancakes or pilao or other foods permeate the house. My mother visited us often, reveling in her role as a grandmother over the years as the patter of feet evolved to the thunderous steps of a 6-footer. I built an extension for her that accommodated a spacious bedroom boasting a bay window and a large attached bathroom.


I call it the “India room” because my mother re-creates the sights, sounds, and smells of the country with the colorful saris in her wardrobe, the Indian languages we hear from her TV, and the sandalwood scent of her figurines. She has a little cupboard temple in a corner of her room, where she worships our Hindu gods. My multi-generational family is entering another era, one in which my son will go to college. Wherever he goes, our Colonial will always be home sweet home to him.

Tara Menon, a freelance writer and poet, lives in Lexington. Send comments and a 550-word essay on your first home to Address@globe.com. Please note: We do not respond to submissions we won’t pursue.