2019 Scholarship Winner – Erin

INVITATION HOMES

I have lived on my own and out of my parent’s house for many years. I try my best to make anywhere I live to have the feeling of a home. My childhood home brought feelings of safety and love, a time when all was right with the world. So naturally, it is my goal to recreate those same feelings. As the years have gone by, and as I have moved to different states and different cities, there is one item I have held onto that is always placed where I live. When I look at this item, a flood of happy memories always come rushing out, thinking to the times of greater simplicity. This one item is a simple, used, steel horseshoe.

I have been an animal lover all my life, being especially passionate about horses. I don’t know how and I don’t know why, but horses are in my blood. When I was about eight years old, my father took me to visit his co-workers horse. My mother did not accompany us because she was afraid of horses. We lived in Fairfield, CA at the time, which was predominately residential and most people did not own land or horses. So this was a very special occasion to be able to go see, smell and touch a real life horse instead of simply looking at them in all of my horse books.

I remember driving with my father to the barn, trying to contain my excitement. When we arrived, my father’s friend introduced me to his horse, Cody. Cody was so huge yet so gentle at the same time. He leaned his head down and breathed his sweet breath into my face. I felt an instant connection and felt like I was in heaven. It was the day Cody was to get new horseshoes, and the farrier arrived shortly after my father and I. Cody was tied in cross-ties so he would stand still for the farrier. I watched in awe while the farrier took off and replaced Cody’s shoes with new ones.

When it was time to go home, I was sad. I didn’t want to leave this beautiful animal who represented all of my hopes and dreams. I reluctantly climbed into my father’s truck to leave. Before we drove off, my father’s friend came over to my side of the truck and handed me one of Cody’s horseshoes that had been removed. I held it in awe, knowing it had previously been part of Cody.

When we arrived home, my father removed the old nails from the horseshoe and cleaned it up for me. I immediately asked him to help nail it on my bedroom wall, right above my door. That is where it stayed until we moved to another house.

Thereafter, every house my family moved to, I placed that horseshoe above my bedroom door. It was always placed so that it was in a “U” shape, because the belief is that placing it this way will hold in all the good luck. When I moved out of my parent’s home and started out on my own, I made sure to take the horseshoe with me. To this day, the horseshoe hangs above my bedroom door.

Today, anytime I look up at the horseshoe, a flood of happy memories come pouring back to me. Memories of my father taking me to see Cody, helping further my love for horses. Memories of my mother who would have been with us, but wasn’t because she was afraid of horses. Memories of my childhood during a time before the stress and chaos of being an adult began. The horseshoe is important to me because it symbolizes a time in life that was simpler. A time when both my parents were alive and the innocence of childhood was still present.

There is not a universal meaning for the word “home”. Everyone has a different definition, and it is important to know what it means for you. What transforms your house into somewhere you feel is your home? “Home” to me is somewhere you feel at ease, secure, and reflects the character of those living inside it. It should be filled with memories of special times and people. Because, to me, it is the memories that make a house a home.

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