a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations
Last night I watched a movie about local dairy farmers titled, Milk Men. As I sat there, in a packed theatre and watched a great movie about families that farm in the area where I grew up, I thought, ‘I truly do love this county. Would I miss it?’.
One of the families in the movie belong to the fire department I grew up in. It brought tears to my eyes and it put a smile on my face seeing their story on the big screen. I felt…pride. These were my peeps, this was my childhood.
I have very, very fond memories of my childhood; of growing up on the ‘westside’. When I was a baby my grandparents owned a small grocery store out in farm country, and I grew up just down the road from the store. My parents still live in my childhood home.
We had an actual milkman who delivered bottles of milk to our porch every week, we watched crop dusters fly over our house every morning and my brother and I rode bikes around the backroads where the majority of the traffic was tractors and pea viners.
My kindergarten bus driver, George, was also my mom’s school bus driver. He retired before I started first grade. Then Bob became my bus driver. He was my bus driver from the time I was in first grade all the way to my senior year in high school. My brother and I’s bus ride to school every morning was a little over an hour long, and we rode past different farms the whole route. Bob would even stop at George’s house a couple times a week. Bob would literally stop the bus in the middle of the road in front of George’s house and take him fresh eggs while checking to make sure he was doing alright. Some mornings George would be waiting for us at the end of his driveway and he would wave as we pulled in front of his house.
It was a great place to grow up. It felt safe. Everyone knew everyone. At night you could leave the keys in the ignition of your car and leave the doors of your house unlocked.
I have a lot of history in this county. I have lived here my whole life except for a year in California when I was three, and three years in Alaska when I was in 6th, 7th and 8th grade. My mom grew up on the ‘westside’ as well. She attended the same grade school as my brother and I did and her father attended the same high school as we did. My dad, and his mom grew up in a neighboring town; one that I live in currently. My son attended the same grade school and high school as my grandma and my dad. Three generations growing up in the same county…
I can’t go anywhere without running into someone I know, or someone who knows my family. Sometimes knowing everyone can be a good thing, but sometimes those same people don’t truly see you for who you truly are.
When people have known you your whole life, they sometimes don’t see how you have grown up, or evolved, or changed. Some people are always going to remember you for that mistake you made ten years ago, or they think they know who you are, or how you live your life because of the stories that others tell about you, or they think they know you from what’s on your facebook page.
I can honestly say that I am no longer that little 10 year old girl with blonde hair who wanted to be a veterinarian, or the teenager who was rebellious as hell, or the twenty year old who made many bad life decisions, or the thirty year old who was sick, overworked and overweight. What I believe I am today is a single, vibrant, colorful, strong, fiercely independent 45 year old woman who likes writing, watching TV, and spending time with her son. And who has amazing family and friends, an exciting but sometimes exhausting career and a thirst for adventure.
I’m here to tell you that I will miss this county, and most the people who live here. But I can honestly say that I am looking forward to meeting people who know nothing about me and have them look at me, seeing who I truly am at that moment, not what my past tells them to see.
And when I’m old and living out my last days with my friends in our big house, I’m sure I will be very nostalgic about my entire life and I won’t care how or why people remember me…as long as they remember me.