Home in Ohio — We made it.

The last time I posted, we were in the middle of hanging hurricane shutters with Hurricane Dorian on its way in.

Since then, we:

  • Bought a house in Ohio
  • Sold our place in South Florida
  • Packed our stuff into a Pod (BIG shout-out to the folks at Pods.com, who totally kicked ass from beginning to end)
  • Moved our shit from the Way Deep South to the Hilly North
  • Painted, unpacked, put things places

And I am home to stay after thirty-nine (almost forty, by just a couple of weeks) long, Ohioless years.

The town I moved back to, and the people who live here, are as I remembered them (and I last lived in this particular town 46 years ago).

There was a lot of crazy in this particular move. We didn’t come back here to scope out the area first. Didn’t see anything of the house (and a bunch of other houses) but pictures the real estate agent (Amy Otto, who was AMAZING) took for us.

We moved here based on my deep love of this state, of this town, and very old memories that never let go of me.

And we were right to make the leap, crazy as it admittedly was.

My memory was good.

And home — in our weird, quirky house, in the hills and the town and these people — was waiting when we got here.

I love this place. I love the roll and rise of the ground, the curve of the river, the trees I still remember from childhood, the smell of the air in the morning, the lay of the light in the afternoon, the quiet, the old houses still lived in and loved and kept up in a place where old things deserve a bit of reverence, and the kindness of strangers.

And the fact is that a helluva long time after I got dragged away from here against my will and my vehement protests, I fit here as I have never fit anywhere else.

These are my people, this is my place.

I’m home.

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and indie-publish my new ones.

40 comments… add one
  • Rebecca Dec 31, 2019 @ 14:05

    I’ve been seeing/hearing bits and snippets about your “crazy” move since you posted the “have you ever taken a leap” -type question in an email. And what I love about the above is the pure, unadulterated, no-regrets JOY that runs through it all. SO very happy that you found your way home. <3

    • Holly Lisle Jan 8, 2020 @ 14:56

      Thank you. It’s breathtaking how much I love this place — and how much it is still what I remembered.

  • Kat Jordan Oct 11, 2019 @ 18:32

    I’m so happy for you!

    I’m also from Ohio, and there are days when I miss it fiercely.

    Glad you are finally home.

    • Holly Oct 17, 2019 @ 16:18

      There’s no place else like Ohio. Lot of other good places.

      But there really is no place like home.

  • Bruce Andis Oct 10, 2019 @ 20:05

    Dang, I’m so happy for you, girl! And because 59 is in my rearview mirror, I get to call you ‘girl.’

    From southern Indiana, where we know hills, too.

    • Holly Oct 17, 2019 @ 16:17

      Hills are the ground that loves you so much they rise up to meet you.

  • Doug Glassford Oct 10, 2019 @ 18:16

    Howdy neighbor… (kinda, I live in Northwest Indiana).
    So glad you feel at home, so glad to see your smile behind your words. I wish you the very best year, a new home, new birthday. You deserve the best life, and I hope you’ve found the place where you can live and enjoy it. Happy 59th. As scary as it seems I am facing turning 67 in January. I am doing my best to be happy that I’ve made it this far along in my life’s journey.


    • Holly Oct 17, 2019 @ 16:16

      As scary as it seems I am facing turning 67 in January. I am doing my best to be happy that I’ve made it this far along in my life’s journey.

      The very best way imaginable to face it, I think. What I’m doing, too.

  • Anne DeMarsay Oct 10, 2019 @ 14:27

    Holly, I was thrilled to read in your “Chaos Update” a couple of months ago that you’d found a way to move out of South Florida, though sorry you didn’t make it out ahead of Dorian. This post brought tears to my eyes. It’s wonderful to hear you sounding so happy and so much at home in Ohio. Happy belated birthday!

    • Holly Oct 17, 2019 @ 16:15

      The crazy thing was that the closer we came to moving, the more I feared it wouldn’t be home when I got here.

      That it was — that’s it’s still the place I loved 40 years ago (and more) is astonishing.

  • Elaine Bedigian Oct 10, 2019 @ 14:13

    So happy for you and yours…and, you SOUND happy!
    Take care, and keep the good stuff coming.

    • Holly Oct 17, 2019 @ 16:13

      So very, very happy. Thank you so much.

  • dragon Oct 10, 2019 @ 11:40

    I love the sound of happy in your words. Glad you made it home. I have to admit, I left where I grew up to find home. It’s a wonderful feeling.

    • Holly Oct 17, 2019 @ 16:09

      I left the place I loved to find out the place I loved most was the one I’d started out with.

      But I totally understand how it could go the other way. We’re all keys that fit different locks — and finding the lock you can actually open is a wonderful thing.

  • Kelly S. Bishop Oct 10, 2019 @ 11:32

    I’m so glad your move went well & that you’re safe & happy in the new home.

  • Lita Oct 10, 2019 @ 11:21

    Happiness and much love to you and yours, Holly. Home at last. Fantastic. xx

    • Holly Oct 17, 2019 @ 16:12

      Thank you, Lita. Being here gets better by the day.

  • Ryan Oct 10, 2019 @ 11:10

    It’s so true. I was forced to move away from my own home, albeit only for a year, and I hated it. I can’t imagine going YEARS without it. I need mountains, I need my city, I need my rivers and my trees and my foothills and my prairies. Can’t have it any other way.

    • Holly Oct 17, 2019 @ 16:11

      Yeah. It sounds like a wonderful place.

      Thing is, knowing there is a “home” out there makes getting through the time away at least bearable.

  • emmiD Oct 10, 2019 @ 11:06

    Congratulations on the successful and happy move!

  • Dan Allen Oct 9, 2019 @ 13:34

    I am going to hazard a guess, this is one of the happiest times of your life, escaping Florida, arriving in a sweet part of Ohio, with old roots no less. That is pretty good.

  • Angela Wooldridge Oct 8, 2019 @ 11:36

    So happy for you Holly 🙂

  • Sarah Neuendorff Oct 7, 2019 @ 22:46

    Wonderful. I’d suggest checking out Hocking Hills Park(but not on a weekend)(free). The serpent mount (admission). And the Newark earthworks (free). There are other neat places to see as well.

    • Holly Oct 9, 2019 @ 14:17

      I’ve been to a lot of the sites to see as a kid. We’re just down the road from Schoenbrunn, for example.

      I have to get the guys to come with me so they can see the sights. 😀

  • Holly Lisle Oct 6, 2019 @ 16:11

    We walked two blocks to the cinema to watch a movie today.

    Nice theater, good crowd. The popcorn was excellent, and the walk both to and from the theater was enjoyable.

    It feels amazing (and almost impossible) to be home.

  • Meilo Oct 5, 2019 @ 13:54

    Good to hear from you again, and awesome to know you’re not only okay, but doing great and somewhere you feel at home. Can’t wait to see the good that comes out of this mess being behind you.

    • Holly Oct 9, 2019 @ 14:18

      Me, too. I’ve come up with some cool stuff for the Ohio novel now that I’m on site.

  • Betty Oct 5, 2019 @ 4:45

    I’m glad you returned to a place you deeply loved <3

    • Holly Oct 9, 2019 @ 14:18

      Thank you. It’s good to be truly home.

  • Dana Fischer Oct 4, 2019 @ 22:05

    Woo! Glad you made it safely and are settling in. And that’s lovely that the town and people haven’t changed from your memories. Sounds wonderful and just what you and your family needed.

    • Holly Oct 9, 2019 @ 14:19

      Lots of painting and other work going on. But we’re clearing paths and making inroads on the boxes.

  • Barbara Oct 4, 2019 @ 17:30

    Congratulations- welcome home. ❤

  • Marie-Claire Allington Oct 4, 2019 @ 14:17

    Happy news😀Best wishes to you all 😀😀

  • Cat Oct 4, 2019 @ 12:12

    Now make sure you’ll stay (alive) for at least another forty years. 😀

    • Holly Oct 9, 2019 @ 14:21

      That’s the trick, isn’t it?

      Planning on doing my best.

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