AtoZ Blog Challenge – D – DNA in a home




Born in Chicago, I grew up in Evanston, Illinois on the corner of Asbury Ave and Lyons Street in a large Georgian Home. I revisit this lovely architectural gem in my imagination and in dreams. There I find my parents waiting for me, and see myself growing up, marrying, bringing my first child home to my parents. In a sense, the new novel, Facing East, is highly autobiographical. The following is a short excerpt from a scene where Katherine articulates for me something I think about.

“I was wondering if memories have DNA; if it’s possible that a house retains the collective memories of those who have lived in it?”

“I don’t know, Mom, maybe the most recent occupants who are making new memories over write some sort of memory chip the house may have?”

“I remember when my father took paint remover to the tiles around this fireplace and found these beautiful redbrick-color etched four by fours. It was a discovery that pleased him no end. You and I both know this happened, but those who come along won’t. I don’t want this to be forgotten, but I know it will be.”  From my new novel, Facing East

About Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin

Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her:
This entry was posted in AtoZ Blog Challenge April 2015 and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to AtoZ Blog Challenge – D – DNA in a home

  1. I don’t know about leaving a little of ourselves in places we’ve lived but I think those places definitely stay with us. That feeling that itches at you when you drive by a place you used to live. It makes you want to pull up to the curb, get out and knock on the door. You want to see how it has changed and how it has stayed the same. Great post.

    • Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I loved writing the new novel which allowed me to write about the house I grew up in, and the other things that as you say, stay with us.

  2. Wendy says:

    What a fascinating idea of a home having DNA. I know when I visit my aunt who lives in the house built by my great-grandfather, I’m swept into trying to picture my great-grandparents and my grandparents going about their day there. But in my own house, I never think about the previous two owners. I’m not even sure what this means. Maybe nothing.
    Visiting from AtoZ

    • You realize that your aunt’s home is the backdrop/setting for a wonderful story you can write using the pictures in your mind to bring your grandparents and great grandparents to life again. Research the times, and have at it. It is ONLY the home I grew up in that I think of the DNA factor. My new novel let me write about the memories the house may retain. Thank you for taking the time to read the post.

  3. noelleg44 says:

    Our home when we were growing up is an indelible part of who we are; I’m in complete agreement. I dream often of my childhood home, usually with a sense of belonging.

  4. Beautiful excepts and such an interesting concept — the DNA of a home. All the memories, the happy and not so happy times etched in this DNA. Very nice.
    Silvia @
    Silvia Writes

    • I wrote a whole scene around this idea that the house I actually grew up has memories that will be forgotten when I am gone. I’m glad you like the idea, and perhaps share my concern of what is remembered. Thanks for taking the time to read the post.

  5. Michelle says:

    What an interesting way to look at it. I know what you mean about not wanting the memories to be lost. Our first house was knocked flat, the ground scraped clear and an had an insurance office built over it. The worst part is we don’t even have many pictures to keep the memories. Thanks for helping me take a stroll down memory lane with your thought provoking excerpt. Good luck from an A to Z blog hoping friend.

    • These memories of home are like the conversion moments in our lives. They need to be revisited. Thank goodness our memories allow for this when like your first home, it is GONE. Hope you will write about the things that were special in little “ditties” so it is honored. Come back when you have time. I’ll be watching for you.

  6. Margaret Stillman says:

    Easter Love! Martin seemed so pleased to be invited back for next year, special! Eager to read the new book! Have you posted the publication date?? Have you had time to start the next one??? With Garden Club stealing time you are busy! Eager to read Facing East! Thought the cover Superb!!!! Sicily departure Sunday. Start a new outline! Want you to capitalize on the momentum from this one and know that is in your thinking as well. So thrilled for you. Love, Meg

    Sent from my iPhone


  7. So fascinating to read about your process and compare to what I’ve been doing. Your novel sounds interesting and the settings are wonderful too.

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