Notes From Home: Place Values

By Trudy Wischemann

“There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home,” Dorothy chants in the beloved movie, The Wizard of Oz. She’s about to be transported back to Auntie Em and Kansas, though whether that’s physically or only mentally, we’re never really sure. It doesn’t matter. When she opens her eyes, there’s her bedroom and Toto and the whole cast of characters who make up her world. Suddenly, this place that had no value at the beginning of the movie is worth everything – because she thought she’d lost it.
I think this old movie still resonates with us today because we know the loss of places. Places can be landscapes seen from afar, rock outcroppings seen up close, the span of a beach or trees towering high above. They can be wide open spaces, vistas so large they invite you to think universally. They can be intimate interiors of buildings or houses; they can be a specific doorway or window, or a bush outside. They can be a combination of all those things, or more.
I am particularly susceptible to the power of places and suffer extensive grief when they are lost. I didn’t plan it. I was born that way.
A group I belong to just decided it needs to sell a piece of property to bring in some much needed funds. I listened to the list of reasons and the realtors’ evaluations of the property values. But no one was brave enough to talk about the property’s place value and of what will be lost when it leaves our hands, or how we’ll feel if its historic house is demolished.
In the name of the place values, I’m offering up an old poem I wrote in 1988. Some of you might laugh, but others might cry with me.

Trudy’s Complaint
You! Bulldozers!
You do this to me all the time.
You take this frame, this plot,
These flowers, this shelter,
These years of witness
To daily, individual joys
And family blunders
And crush them into a splintered heap
Good for not so much as firewood.
No jointing is respected,
No adornment,
No omission or pertinent lack,
No historical moment
When a bird or butterfly touched this eave
And caught the light in its wings,
Permanently etching in some mind’s eye
The magic of existence.
Nothing! You leave me nothing
But bitterness
At the trends in our lives.

Trudy Wischemann is a sometimes angry poet who writes paragraphs. You can send her your butterfly sightings c/o P.O. Box 1374, Lindsay CA 93247 or visit and leave a comment there.
– This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Foothills Sun-Gazette newspaper.

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