You Can Go Home Again

Well, I suppose I asked for it, didn’t I? Now you guys all know about my Michael Jackson button collection and that I archive emails like a big dorky librarian and give them as PRESENTS. I’m not going to try and rebut these things. I do however feel that I have, in the immortal words of Desi Arnaz as Ricky Ricardo, some es-plaining to do.

Before I get to that, my trip was good, and although I got to see a lot of medical-building scenery that looks like this:

I also got time at my parents’ house, which is heavenly, and where I can read in a hammock with a view that looks like this:

And, my pops was out of the hospital, and so I got to see him like this, the best view of all:

I am from the kind of city that is renowned for being depressed. It’s a town that people think of as a –how do I put this delicately– a pit. More than a pit. A boil on the ass of the you-nited states. When I tell people that this is where I am from, I have gotten looks of pity. How lucky you are, people say in their eyes, to have gotten out of a place like that. I don’t know, maybe I am lucky. Maybe they are right. But I just can’t seem to look at it that way. In fact, when people do this, I want to pop them in the jaw, as if they just told me that my mom was ugly or something. Nobody talks about my mom like that, sucker. And conversely, when people tell me about where they were raised, and sneer at it and put it down, I always want to question them about that further. How can you really hate it that much? If you were raised there, didn’t that city raise you? Isn’t it in your bones? Didn’t it make you who you are, the good parts and the bad parts? And if you hate the place that made you, is the part of you who comes from there something you hate too? That makes me really sad. It’s like hating your parents. Then again, some parents are evil, and if they were evil to you, then I guess it’s ok for you to hate them. I get that too.

What I’m leading up to here is that I love my hometown. Love. It. So what if it’s a boil on the ass of the earth? It’s MY BOIL, and I love it. I love how, no matter what store I walk in to, what business I frequent there, everyone knows my mom and dad and is overjoyed to see me, their daughter. “Look at you, so grown up!” they say. They seem proud of me, and I don’t even know them. I love how, although there are no Starbucks any where to be found, there are doughnut shops on every street. Even the gas station near my parents’ house boasts “fresh doughnuts!” You gotta love a place like that. I even love the weird things about this town. Like the fact that there is a church being built there called the “Fragrance of Christ.” The FRAGRANCE! Is that not just the greatest thing you’ve ever heard in your life? Eau de Messiah. Breathe deep. Or the fake German town that bustles just outside of town. It’s called Frankenmuth. It’s a German town- with no German people! It’s German, of the Disney variety, with a Bavarian-esque outdoor shopping mall where the workers wear lederhosen and you…are supposed to do what exactly? I’m not sure. Walk around and feel German? Shop for t-shirts? Have a bratwurst? I have never, in my entire life, really understood Frankenmuth and the crowds that flock there. But it’s fair to say that I have an inexplicable, unconditional love for Frankenmuth that I could not for the life of me explain to you. (And this trip, I introduced Nordic Boy to the enigma that is Frankenmuth, and he understood the glory and the bounty of the cheesy goodness. He even dubbed it with a nickname. “The Mooth.” Where do you go where you want a stein of beer? The MOOTH. This is why I hang out with that guy, just for saying things like that).

I love how I can drive around, and literally have a story about almost every single house in town, or at least every street in town. There’s the driveway where I kissed that boy after a party one night. There’s the apple orchard where we played “Bloody Murder” at dusk in the summers. There’s the ice cream parlor where I would go for Superman flavored ice cream (a Michigan staple) with my sister. Every square mile of that place holds hundreds of memories, and they’re all pretty good.

I don’t know. Maybe it is a pit, and there is no getting around that. But here’s all I’m saying, you guys. My life, overall, has really been a dream. I have parents who love me, and friends who rock the hiz-owse, and a daily feeling much like kitties and puppies and rainbows. And half of that life was lived in that town. So what’s not to love? I was born of the ass-boil-town, but it’s what started all this beauty for me, so I’m grateful. Thanks, ass-boil-town. I was so lucky to be raised by you. I love my life and myself, and so much of that is because of you.

Ok, so now I’ve talked myself out and can’t explain my Michael Jackson button collection, nor post any pictures of it. Convenient, no?

Alright, alright. Next time. I promise you.

Kiss the rings, I’m out.
Librarian Girl

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10 comments

  1. My hometown, or the closest I’ve had to one, wasn’t in a M. Moore film, but it was the topic of a 60 Minutes special entitled “Drunk Town, USA” – so I get some of where you are coming from. Likewise whenever people bring up reservations, all of my little hairs go up because I’m ready to argue and/or educate depending on the person’s disposition.I’m also always weirded out by people who hate where or whom they are from, because like it or not, that is who you are to some extent.

  2. I’ve always thought hometowns are awesome no matter the size of the boil. My town gets that kind of “so sorry you have to live there” a lot too. But it’s home – and I’m glad you had a good trip home. 🙂

  3. I was born and raised in Atlanta and since I’m still here at almost 39 years of age, I guess I like it pretty well. I would love to move somewhere else at some point – not because I hate my hometown, but just to experience something new and different. If I actually do escape, I won’t go around bad mouthing it after I leave.About an hour north of Atlanta is our own version of Frankenmuth. It’s called Helen. It’s THE place to be for Oktoberfest. Only I never am. I’ve been several times (sometimes the out-of-towners want to visit so I take them) but only once during the Oktoberfest celebration and I really didn’t see what the big deal was.

  4. I LOATHE my hometown with a fiery passion. When I graduated from college, I forced some of my friends to let me live with them while I figured out what to do with my life, just so I wouldn’t have to go back to that…place. Seriously, once my parents are gone, I really don’t think that I will ever set foot in my hometown ever again. EVER.At the same time, I AM grateful for the time that I was forced to live there. It did shape me into the me that I am today…I’m just glad that the shaping is done and I don’t ever have to live there again.I do feel compelled to point out that I grew up in a military town that no one really seemed to want to live in. I was not alone in my hatred for the place…nearly all of my friends felt the same way. Of course, most of my friends weren’t actually from there…sadly, I was.

  5. I once saw a programme that voted my hometown as having the best under-age prostitutes in Britain…hmmm. Thing is, you’re right, no matter what other people say you always feel proud of your roots. Welcome back btw and glad your dad is doing better :o)

  6. Commence random off-topic comment for my own potential personal gain: might you be attending Book Expo in NY next week with the rest of us library geeks?

  7. thanks for this post. I’m often torn over how I feel about my home town and the Midwest in general. I’m back after being gone for about 5 years. In so many ways I fit in here and in so many ways I don’t. Some days I despise the ways I fit in and others I’m grateful for them. I guess it’s a love/hate thing.

  8. Great post. I’ve been thinking about it for the last couple of days. I appreciate all of my origins because they make me who I am, but I gotta say that some of the values I learned in my small town had to be counteracted elsewhere! There wasn’t much tolerance for different ways of thinking where I come from, but fortunately things were different inside the walls of our home. Otherwise, I might be living a very different life right now.But you’re right: It’s all part of the recipe!

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