A place to call home

Joy Bricker's room at the Marriott. (Photo: Kris Van Cleave)

What it is that makes a place home?

Joy Bricker, 79, will tell you home is not a house or even an apartment. For more than 10 years, home has been room 202 at the Marriott Towneplace Suites.

“My sole goal when I checked in here was to make contacts with friends and see what was out there that I might get a job doing,” Bricker says.

She went to work and after 8 years retired, but never left the Falls Church hotel.

Along the way, she found more than a place to stay or to call home. She found a second family miles away from her daughter in western New York.

Hotel General Manager Bobby Bellinger even waited with her at the hospital after she fell last November, breaking her hip.

“She made it a point to make us part of her family so it was very easy for us to make her part of ours,” Bellinger says.

On Thursday, months away from turning 80, Joy will check out and live with her daughter. She’s not sure if she'll be back this way again or not.

"I'll weep a lot, and I'll be weepy with her for a few weeks,” she says.