A House is not a Home Story – Summary

This is a real incident of a teenager Zan Gaudioso. In this story he had to face such a situation that it changed his life completely.


The author says that his first year in school was not pleasant. It was twice as big as his old school. His old friends had gone to different high schools. So, he felt very lonely.

One Sunday afternoon, the author was sitting at home doing his homework by the fireplace. He had his cat nearby. His mother stoked the fire. Suddenly, he noticed smoke from the ceiling. They came in the front yard but the fire had surrounded the place and was spreading. His mother ran back into the house and the author ran to the neighbours to call the fire department.

The author’s mother ran out of the house with important documents then ran back again to get pictures and letters of her husband. He ran after her but the fireman caught him. The author told the fireman that his mother was inside. The fireman seated him wrapped in a blanket in the car. Soon, another fireman brought the author’s mother. He put her in the truck with an oxygen mask over her mouth. She had inhaled a lot of smoke.

After five hours, the fire was finally put out. The house was completely burned down.

It struck the author that he had not seen the cat. He started crying. The firemen did not let him go inside. The author and his mother went to the author’s grandparents for the night.

The next day the author went to school in his old dress, no shoes and no books as his backpack had also gone. He felt sad, he wanted to die but he walked to school.

He crossed his house on his way to school. Everything was destroyed. Only the photo albums, documents, etc., were saved. His heart ached for the cat. His mother took him away from there. They would have to find a place to live and buy clothes for school also.

Soon the rubble was being cleared up. The author kept thinking about the cat. He kept thinking how the cat would climb on him and fall asleep in his pocket.

Soon everyone came to know about the author’s plight. People collected around him to take him to the gymnasium. The author was surprised to see the table inside had a collection of things. These were: notebooks, clothes, jeans, tops, sweater, shirts. He grew emotional. He felt great relief as people came to see him. They were those who had not visited him earlier. He made friends that day.

A month later, the author was at his house. It was being rebuilt. His two friends from school were with him. The fire was responsible for all the wonderful people around him. His life was getting back to normal.

Soon a woman came to him. She had a cat with her. The author took the cat from her. The cat had run away from the fire and the woman had found it. She telephoned as the author’s telephone number was written on its collar. The feeling of loss had vanished and the author felt a sense of gratitude for his life and friends.