A House To Put It In

A soldier’s little girl, whose father was being moved to a distant post, was sitting at the airport among her family’s meager belongings.

The girl was sleepy. She leaned against the packs and duffel bags. A lady came by, stopped, and patted her on the head.

‘Poor child,’ she said. ‘You haven’t got a home.’

The child looked up in surprise.

‘But we do have a home,’ she said. ‘We just don’t have a house to put it in.”

From a sermon by the Rabbi Albert Lewis, as told to Mitch Albom, 1981.

a house to put it in

My father wasn’t a soldier, though I watched him and my mother fight as though they were waging war. My mother packed her bags and left, taking me too, and she and I spent many long years fighting our own battles with him, through family court and visitation supervisors. When she first left him, there wasn’t a house for us. The council told us we could move into an older house immediately, or wait three months and move into a brand new house in a brand new cul-de-sac on the edge of town.

She asked for the new house, and took me to Maine to spend the summer with her sister, my aunt, in their cabin in the woods.

We had each other; we had our home.

We just had to wait until we had a house to put it in.

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