Thursday, July 08, 2010

Home town

Recently, I filled out this form that asked me where my hometown is. My normal answer is, "Everywhere." This time, however, I just didn't have an answer. The truth is, I don't really have a "hometown" per se, just a place that feels like home.

Growing up, my family moved around a lot. I was born in Southern California, but we lived in Southern, Central and Northern California after I came into the world. We also lived in other states: Nevada, Illinois, Missouri and Connecticut. In fact, one of my younger sisters was born in Missouri (which I nicknamed "Misery"). We have also visited Utah and New York.

I have no idea why my family was always so nomadic, just that we were always moving, moving, moving. I'd tell my friends I was moving away and a lot of them would reply with, "You just got here." Well, my mom pretty much wanted to move more than my dad. She just could never really find anywhere to call home. Even after I left home at the age of 19, she still kept moving around from one house to another.

That may be coming to an end, however, and I'll go into that in just a moment.

First, I wanted to get back to my reflection over how I didn't really have an answer for when I was asked where my hometown is. I guess it would have to be the California desert, since that's where I lived the longest (14 years). Even then, I call it the desert, and not some particular city, because in the desert, I went from Palm Desert to Rancho Mirage to Desert Hot Springs. (Actually, I lived in two different places in Palm Desert before moving to Rancho Mirage.)

Now I started to think, how would Jennifer answer this question? Or Jesse? We no longer live where Jennifer was born (in the desert), but we DO live where Jesse was born. At least one of my kids would at least be able to have the chance to say they were "born and raised" somewhere. In some city. I wanted to give them that chance, so why not now? Why not put into place what my kids could have as their "hometown"? A place to call home.

And why not make that Eugene?

Granted, I've had a love-hate relationship with Eugene, but I do love this new house we are living in. I could definitely see us staying here for a long time. So, why not? Why not go ahead and do that? Let my children have what I couldn't have: A neighborhood they can grow up in. (My husband's family also moved around a lot but he has fond memories of living in Ohio.) I hated moving all the time. Always leaving my friends. Always changing schools. Always packing, packing, packing. Then UNPACKING. And don't get me started on how many times I lost things in one move or another. I don't want to put my children through that. So, why not just establish our roots now? You know? Why not.

I was talking with my mother about this on the phone yesterday. I told her about how we're going to stay put here in Eugene. She agreed it was probably the best thing to do for the children (would have been nice if she'd thought of that when I was a kid!) and she told me she loves where she is living now, in Illinois. And she said she's probably going to stay there, too. In fact, she is buying a house out there. She said she wanted to stay there and she was happy there. (I could only imagine the amount of relief my dad must have been feeling had he been listening to her say all that on the phone. He was probably thinking something like, Thank God! It only took her 30-something years!)

It feels good knowing that now I have a place to call home -- even though I am still trying to find some way to fit in here and be a part of the community more -- but, more importantly, my children can know they have a place to call home, too. They don't have to worry about leaving their friends or changing schools. Or even having to change what grade they're in, since another state might have a different grade level for kids their age.

I don't think I'll be carrying on my family's tradition of moving from place to place to place so often anymore, and I'm glad I have decided on as much. I used to think that if anything happened to my husband, and it would be me and the kids, we'd all pack up and move back to California. I kept telling people, Oregon is not my home! But now, things are different. Maybe Eugene is starting to grow on me -- or I am finally seeing how good my kids have it here and how nice so many people are. We'll likely stay put. My children need one place to stay where they can grow up. Why not make it here? Maybe one of these days I'll find some way to be a part of Eugene, and maybe ONE of these days I'll get used to this crazy weather. Up until then, for now I think we are going to start calling Eugene "home."


Angie said...

I'm with you on not having a "home town." There's no one place I was born and raised. I was born in San Francisco, but that's just where the hospital was. By the time I was seven I'd lived in South San Francisco (the city, not the south part of SF), Colma, San Carlos, Cupertino and San Jose. We actually stayed in SJ for quite a while after that, but I had recent memories of living in many other places and never thought of it as my home town; I just don't have one. If anything, I think of "home" as the Bay Area, or the South Bay, or maybe Santa Clara County, since that's where I lived between the ages of six and thirty-three, in various towns within the county.

But the idea that you're born in one city or town and live there all your life, or even all your childhood until you grow up and move away, is actually about fifty years out of date. Some people still do that, sure, but nowhere near the majority in this country. I think it's one of those memes that's just hard to kill; it'll probably be floating around in fiction of various media, and the popular consciousness, for at least a couple more generations.


Dawn Colclasure said...

Hey, Angie. Nice to see you here. :) Thanks for commenting.

Yes, that's true. Nowadays, a lot of people just don't have a "home town" anymore. Just a place they were fond of in their many travels around the country. This is especially true for military families. The idea still has a nice feel to it, though. Having some particular place in this world to call home that you can grow up in and know everybody in....

And, hey! I used to live in Cupertino! As well as Santa Clara and San Jose. It was beautiful there and I hope to visit again someday.

Angie said...

I love Santa Clara County and if I had my druthers I'd move back there tomorrow. Unfortunately it's one of the most expensive areas in the country, and it'd take a couple of lottery wins before we'd be realistically able to plan living there for the rest of our lives. :/


Anonymous said...

Hi Dawn, I think Eugene is a wonderful place to live and to raise children.
Personally for me, I can say I was raised in St. Louis. My parents lived in the same house for 30 years. Whenever anyone visited from out of town they always knew they could stop at Sis and Ron's house. That house on Sidney has been a fond memeory for so many of our cousins and aunts and uncles.

Carol said...

Sorry I should of posted the comment wasa from me your cousin Carol.

Dawn Colclasure said...

Angie: Yes, it's always money that could prevent someone from living where they'd like to. I hope you still find a chance to visit there sometime. :)

Carol: Thanks for commenting! :) Nice to "hear" from you on here. I know, Mom used to always talk about her memories of visiting St. Louis and how we lived there once. I guess for a lot of people, no matter where we go or live, somewhere will always be home. For me, it will be the desert, even if I don't go back.