Home means a lot more to you when you’ve spent time without one. If you haven’t read Homecoming, the first book in the Tillerman Cycle, here’s what happens: Momma drives her old car to a mall in Connecticut, gets out, leaves the kids waiting, and never comes back. We won’t ruin it for you, but Gram’s not the first relative the Tillerman tykes try to move in with. So when Gram adopts them and gives them a home, it’s a huge deal for the kiddos. Going back to school, taking piano lessons, having a real Thanksgiving dinner, getting new clothes—these are things most kids in America take for granted, but for Dicey's Song just having a roof over their heads is a wonder.
Dicey doesn't want to go up to the attic because she's afraid that it will remind her of the home she has lost, and threaten the home she's building.
Dicey has such a problem feeling at home because she knows that she'll be picking up and leaving it soon enough. After all, there are only five years left until college.