I grew up in a town of about 8,000 people, nestled in a quiet corner of the Adirondacks in upstate New York. It wasn’t always quiet because a major battle was fought between the British and Americans here in 1777 at Fort Ticonderoga. The details are a bit sketchy since I’ve been away so long and school is many years behind me, but my grandmother and mother spent many years working there.
From the time I was in high school, I knew I wanted to get away. I managed a few trips to New York City with my dance school and something about city life was very enticing to me. I applied to schools all over when I was looking at colleges: Boston, MA; Providence, RI; Albany, NY and a couple in small towns like the one I grew up in. I was all over the board with what I wanted to be “when I grew up”. I went from wanting to be an interior designer to working in fashion to being a chef or an author.
My mom’s dream was for me to be a nurse and if I wasn’t going to do that, she tried to push me toward something more stable and where jobs were readily available. I think another caveat was she didn’t want me to go too far from home. In the end, I chose a small liberal arts school known for churning out teachers and I chose that direction. It was in a city and only two hours from home so it was a win for both of us. My out of college older brother lived nearby and my college-age brother was in school a few miles away. It seemed to be the perfect fit.
I started in earnest on my teaching degree and liked most of the classes. I especially like special education and learning sign language and one of my new friends was in the special education program and my roommate and friend from home was going to be a teacher. During Christmas break, my college-age brother took his life and I was adrift. I was managing my way through classes but when it came to the tutoring small kids from a nearby inner city, that was required for one of my classes, I knew I wasn’t cut out for it.
I changed my major to English and took all the literature and writing classes I could find. I’m not going to lie, by the time I was a senior, I was dating a long-term boyfriend I thought I was going to marry and have kids with and be a stay at home mom. I wasn’t thinking of making a career for myself and left all my ambitions by the wayside. Fortunately, after graduation, one or both of us saw the unlikeliness of going the distance and we broke up for good.
This would have been the perfect time to pull up stakes and head for New York because I had a very good friend from high school living there and I could get back into writing and possibly find a job in publishing. You may have guessed it, but I met another guy and by the time that fell apart, I was firmly entrenched in my job and the friend who lived in the city moved here and we got a place together.
I guess I sort of got away from where this post was going about being a rube and I don’t want to bore you with my whole life story here. I managed to move away from my small town roots but as I got older, I have to say I envied my other siblings who were nearby my parents and could pop in for dinner anytime they chose. I’ve lived away now for more years than I’ve lived anywhere else and as time passes I wonder if I’ll consider anywhere else home. There will always be that little tug for my first home.