Home is Where the Heart is"

Chapter 10. WHERE IS HOME?

During the following weeks Carrie kept getting more and more confused. Although part of her was really happy to be back home, another part of her was actually sad. She couldn’t help feeling that something was missing. Sure, it was nice to be with her sister and her family again, to see her old friends, and go to her old school. Carrie had been so sure that everything would be ok, if only she came back to Walnut Grove. But she realized more and more that it wasn’t the same as before.

Carrie wished she could have talked to Laura about her problem, but she didn’t want to seem ungrateful. After all, coming back to Walnut Grove had been her own idea. How could she possibly tell Laura that she wasn’t sure she was happy there? So Carrie just continued with her new life in Walnut Grove, pretending that everything was just fine.

Every morning she went to school with Jenny. The two girls were becoming good friends, and got along most of the time. Sure there were times when Jenny wasn’t happy about sharing her room, and sure there were times when Carrie wasn’t happy about Jenny taking over “her” family. But usually they got along great. The girls looked so much like each other that many people in Walnut Grove started regarding them as sisters. Both had dark, braided hair, and both liked the color blue. Their personalities also had some similarities. They were both calm, bright and responsible. Although Jenny was a bit more outgoing and a bit more interested in sports than Carrie was.

After school, Carrie and Jenny often sat by the creek and talked about the future. Carrie dreamed of being a writer, and Jenny wanted to be an actress or an artist. They often made up their own plays, and then performed them for Laura and Almanzo after supper.

But some days Carrie went off on her own, to think. She knew she needed to do something about her situation, but she wasn’t sure what. Carrie just couldn’t figure out why she wasn’t completely happy in Walnut Grove.

Then one day Miss Plum gave them a special homework.
“I want you all to write an essay”, she said.
“Can I write about the new dress I’m getting from Paris?”, Nancy asked.
The other kids started giggling. It was just so typically Nancy. They stopped when Nancy gave them an angry look.
“No, Nancy”, Miss Plum said. “This time I want you all to write about what home and family means to you”.
Carrie frowned. That topic wasn’t going to be easy for her to write about. After all – that was just what she had been having trouble figuring out!

That afternoon Carrie sat inside, working on her essay. Jenny had finished hers in only an hour, and had gone fishing with Jeb and Jason. Carrie looked down on her paper – she hadn’t even written a single word!

Suddenly she started thinking about her family. Not only Laura, Almanzo, Jenny and Rose, but her family in Burr Oak. Her Ma and Pa, Albert and James, and Cassandra and little Grace. And then Mary and Adam in New York. It sure wasn’t easy when your family lived in several places! How could Carrie possibly pick what place was her home? Although Walnut Grove in many ways felt like home, she knew now that it wasn’t the same there without the rest of her family. And though Burr Oak still felt like a horrible place, she couldn’t ignore that most of her family lived there.

Suddenly she remember something her Pa had told her several years ago – home is where the heart is. She realized he was actually right. It didn’t really matter where she lived – anywhere her family was could be her home. Even though she loved Walnut Grove, it was only part of her home now – another part was Burr Oak, since a big part of her family lived there. Carrie realized now how much she had missed them all. She had enjoyed being back in Walnut Grove again, but she knew now that she was ready to go back to Burr Oak.

She was going home. But first Carrie had to write her essay, and she knew just how to start it.
“Home is Where the Heart Is….”

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