After the Adventures in Agriculture festival, the kids and I made our way to my hometown. I don't go there. Ever. But I intend to change that. There are a lot of emotions tied up to that place in my heart that I've simply not wanted to deal with. Most of these feelings have nothing to do with the town itself and are more about some of the people and memories I have associated with it. Lately, however, I've come to realize that there are just as many good things left there as there are hard things and I've decided to start letting that part of my past not hurt me as much. After all, the person who has hurt me the most doesn't even live there anymore. And I have no idea if he even works there or goes there at all.
I do have family there. Sure, they aren't "kin" to me. But they are people who have known me for my entire life. And isn't that what I've been wanting for myself and my children... those people who know my history? So what if they don't share my blood. They have stories to share. And they love me. When we first got to town, we immediately went over to my old neighborhood. The house in which I lived for the first 18 years of my life is in this neighborhood and there are several people remaining there who have lived there for well over 30 years. We went to see some of those people. And here they are loving on my kiddies. I grew up on Murrey Street. At least that is what everyone always called it. When I was a smart alleck know-it-all teenager, I got a little miffed because I noticed that the road sign actually said Murrey Avenue. So, I insisted on writing Murrey Avenue as my address from then on. Well, Saturday I happened to notice that the sign said Murrey Street. Wha?? How could this be? So, I wonder if maybe at some point in my lifetime the sign had been knocked down and replaced with the incorrect name or if there is some other strange explanation, like that the city decided to just go with what everyone said and change it to reflect the name the road had been given by its residents. Either way, I'd just love to know! Wonder who I could call about that??
The man who own's my old house wasn't at home but my neighbors told me that he's a very nice man and that he'd not be upset if we went into the yard. The entire neighborhood used to congregate right here on this front porch in the evenings when it was nice outside. At any given time, there would be 10 kids, most of their parents, and maybe some friends. People from "the back street" (one street over) used to walk over too. It was good times. We'd catch lightning bugs, play Mother May I and Simon Says, and chit chat. You know, it's funny how it's the least expected little things that really get to you. The thing that affected me the most about walking up to that porch was the side walk. Not the fact that the new owner had given the house a new front door... or the sight of the railings that Dad had put up in preparation for growing old there. No, it was the side walks. The cracks in those side walks. And watching my own kids skip and jump on that side walk.
So, my "sister from another mother" (we grew up across the street from one another and I do believe we have known each other for about 28 years now) had a birthday party for her sweet little boy. We were so glad to be invited. The kids were so excited. I got out the photo album and showed them pictures of me and Debbie from when we were kids. They really got a kick out of that. I even drilled them.
Me: Now who are we going to see?
Me: And who is Debbie? (We only know about 17 Debbies.)
H&R: Your very best friend of all time.
Me: That's right!
I'd not spent any real time around Debbie's children before. The thought of our kids playing together truly made my heart warm. She and I have vowed to make sure that we see each other on a more consistent basis now. Mama would be made so happy by that. I should have plenty of pictures of my kids with the children of my oldest, dearest friend but I just have this one... so far!And here I am with Vickie, Margaret (also a neighbor who has known me my whole life), and Debbie. Vickie is Debbie's mama and she was there when my mom died. She and Margaret were such wonderful friends to my mama for many many years and I love them very much.
And as it always does, life comes full circle. After the party, we went to visit with new friends who I love more and more each time I see them. The fact that they live in my old town is totally a God thing because it helps to have new, easy things associated with painful things from your past.
On a side note, I would like to say that I didn't cry. I didn't even start to. I've come a long way in the past 3.5 years. I'm finally ready to move on.