After spending a week in the place where I was born and raised I have discovered that you really can go home again, you just have to go on your own terms.
This time as I drove into town, I didn’t break out in a sweat and wonder what fresh hell awaited me by the time I got to the other end of town. This time I saw the town for what it is – a sweet little village in the middle of this beyond beautiful countryside.I drove down what used to be the main street, and I noticed how not much has really changed in the past 60 years. Some buildings have been torn down, but not really replaced with anything. New housing developments have sprung up here and there – but still – the essence of what the town used to be is still quite visible.
Small-town America where I walk into a restaurant and I know everyone is thinking; why, that looks like Barbie Hamp – you know – Dick and Beulah’s daughter… I wonder what she’s doing back here. They would never ask you who you are, they just stare at you. That used to piss me off, now, in a sick sort of way, I find comfort in that.
This is also Republican, evangelical, FOX News, right-leaning newspaper small-town America. There are these signs everywhere with little Jesus themed sayings about how to have a nice day. The town doesn’t have much business opportunities but, there is a smorgasbord of churches all within a 10 mile radius of this little town. Methodist, Reformed, Catholic, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Jehovah’s Witness… Any religion you can think of, you can probably find it there. I don’t understand it – but, if that’s how they have to get through the day, I say; go for it. I’ll just continue to ask the Universe to give them compassion to go along with their religious views.
This is the first time I went back to my home town and wasn’t uncomfortable or angry or anxious to leave. I used to blame my feelings on the town and its culture, and my family, and the people who live there and yet I’ve discovered that it was really me – not them – that needed to accept me for who I am. Now that I’m comfortable with who I am, and now that I’m happy in my life, and now that I feel I have nothing I have to prove to anyone – going back to this place where I was born and raised is simply that – going back to this place where I was born and raised. I focus on the happy memories, I stay away from family and so-called friends who choose to berate and judge and I simply enjoy the beauty of it all.
I love the Oscar Wilde quote: “With age comes wisdom, but sometimes age comes alone.” Thank goodness the wisdom finally caught up to my age…