|Where is home?|
I was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. I lived pretty close to downtown, but I was never a city girl. I get nostalgic for the three story house on Euclid, with it's big scary basement, and hot attic that smelled like my dad's books, but I never get homesick for the people (too many) the traffic (Too loud) or the fear (A boy was grabbed in our neighborhood once, but escaped actually being kidnapped) I remember when we moved to Edmonton, Ky (More accurately, Subtle, Ky but it's hardly big enough to count) I missed the sound of the cars going by. My bedroom window had been pretty close to a busy street, so the sound of engines and honking cars put me to sleep.
The funny thing is, country people think the city is loud, but out in the middle of the woods is the loudest place I've ever been. Birds, crickets, running water, frogs, thunder...all together make a cacophony to rival the biggest city.
Culture shock. I heard this term over and over when we first moved to Ky. We went from political campaigns, flushing toilets, and walking to the grocery store to no schedules, an outhouse, and a half an hour trip to Wal-Mart (What's that, never heard of it?) and NO alcohol! What the heck is a dry county? (Never heard of that either!) Also, in Indy, there are churches, but there are just a few. They are big, fancy, and have stained glass windows. In KY there is a church on every corner, some of them are made from garage siding, or in old strip malls, and Sunday closes the entire place down!
Kathy Smith was talking about how she grew up. Most people might think it was odd. I don't at all.
For years, we didn't have a tv. We listened to Prairie Home Companion, Riders in the Sky, and Click and Clack the Tappet Brothers on NPR, on the radio. My dad had a record collection that he protected insanely, but would pull out some good ones to listen to. Dad let me listen to Heart, and I fell in love with "Magic Man".
I was home schooled in Indy, but decided I wanted to try school out in Edmonton Elementary. The biggest mistake of my life. The third grade teacher was horrible, and inflamed my independent personality. The kids were awful, calling me a hippy because of the farm we moved to that had once, apparently housed hippy types (and what's so wrong with THAT? You idiots!) and a boy I called friend killed himself. (Here's small town life for you, I just found out that my daughter is related to him through marriage)
After third, fourth grade (With a teacher I loved, and everyone called me De Anna for a year, which was my middle name, and I never quite got the hang of it) and fifth grade (Where the teacher picked her nose in front of class and didn't like me correcting her English) I decided to go back to home schooling. Where I could go at my own pace, and actually read the "big" books that the EE library "Teacher" wouldn't let me read. So, cut off from the world, except for my best friend Sheila, her sister Jennifer, and the few people we interacted with, I thrived. Living in the Valley meant, for the most part, freedom. Yes, we didn't have a tv, we had to carry a candle to get to the outhouse at night, and I never knew what a gaming system was, but I was happy. I was trusted to explore the far reaches of the farm alone. I shot snakes, encountered a bear, collected fossils and bones, made dye from walnuts, caught crawdads in the creek, and made a reading spot out of nearly every spot I could find. I learned how to rely on myself, how to navigate in the woods, and how to protect myself.
Somebody might think this is odd. I never rolled my pants legs, never glued my bangs up in crazy waves with hairspray, never learned to care about fashion or trends, and never once did I consider changing myself to get a boy to like me. I never learned how to navigate the teen world, or those first boyfriend girlfriend relationships (Which only tripped me up one good time, but that was enough!) and I am thankful. Separated from peer pressure, and societal influence I became my own person.
My dad had been a preacher before I was born (Stop me if you've heard this) but I was raised to think for myself. It was hard when I was at school because no one understood why I didn't celebrate any of the holidays, or say the pledge of allegiance and it seemed to make them mad. My dad never told me there was a god. I was never made to go to church, though Sheila took me a time or too, which I didn't find enlightening, but was entertaining when I was kicked out of church and asked not to come back...for asking questions...
One year we finally got a tv. We only got one channel (Channel 13) but we mostly watched movies anyway. I was reminded by Kathy's post of the huge antennae that took at least two people to use. Dad would turn it, and one of us would watch the tv and shout out when the screen looked better. He drove me crazy with it. The picture was never good enough, and half the time he'd fiddle with it and it would end up worse than it had started out. That's when I decided that it was easier to be happy with what you had, as long as it was good ENOUGH. Things don't always have to be perfect.
We also had a garden. Nothing like Kathy describes, but it was painful. Anytime I think of planting beans I get ill. I hated it. My dad was way too ambitious when it came to the garden. My dad plowed the plot with a gas tiller, then we poked holes by hand, and dropped seeds into the dirt, covering them up as we went. It's amazing that I like to grow things at all, because I think trauma when I think beans.
Ironically, when I think "home" I think of that farm. Not any of the many other houses come close to feeling like home to me. So, I guess home is Subtle. That's Subtle with the "T" pronounced, by the way. But only if you're from there.