The Homeplace (Family Rite of Passage)

The Homeplace is a big parcel of land in Southern Alabama that’s been a part of the Slade family for many, many years. Also called Slade Properties, the land is divided amongst the members of the Slade family, and the land passes down through the family via the Slade side only; those who marry into the family aren’t eligible to have any part of the land passed down to them by an older family member.

His great grandfather Slade, who was the first to own the property, wrote in his will that members of the family who owned pieces of the land would need to convene at the Homeplace twice a year. The purpose of these meetings was not only to discuss financial issues but also to pass down skills like gun handling to the younger members of the family. Parents bring their children to the meetings, and the older kids will take them out to explore the land, tell them stories about the cemeteries on the property (one of which is supposedly haunted by the children who died before they reached adulthood), show them the old Slade schoolhouse, and teach them how to shoot and hunt if they’re old enough.

It’s a rite of passage in his family to attend the meetings and be inducted into the family legends surrounding the property, like the haunted cemetery and the fact that his family has used the property as hunting grounds for decades. Every family member has attended at least once, and every family member knows the family history surrounding the place. The kids who grow up visiting the Homeplace eventually inherit part of the land from their parents or grandparents, and bring their own children back to the Homeplace in turn.