So uhm.....where do I come from? (Or maybe you'd like to know where I'm going via where I've been.)
My Facebook profile lists Wyandotte as my hometown, but I don't necessarily feel like that was my hometown since I didn't grown up in a town. Sure, I went to school there from Kindergarten until I graduated, but is it my hometown? It's definitely my school. In Wyandotte they say, "Once a Bear, always a Bear," but in Miami they say, "Once a Wardog, always a Wardog." I guess pretty much any town boasts a lifelong committment to their mascot. My kids will always be Owls, I guess. And when they are adults they will probably feel an overwhelming urge to don red and white every Friday just like I still want to wear black and white.
If I had to commit right this very minute to where I consider myself "from" I guess I would have to say: the tiny little Ottawa community out east of Miami.
Mom and my father built our house there when Mom was pregnant with Tater and we moved in a mere week before she was born. I met my best friend, DeLisa, when Mom called her mom and invited her to my 5th birthday party. She lived less than a mile from me. Sis' best friend, Amy Jo, lived just past DeLisa. The four of us grew up together and when we got old enough, kept that road hot. We rode bikes between the three houses usually, but sometimes we walked, we ran or hitched a ride with a neighbor or one of DeLisa or Amy's brothers. Summers were spent down in the river bottom swinging on grapevine and picking flowers. When the weather got Okla-hot we were at each other's houses in the air conditioning, playing Barbies and eventually playing Nintendo, watching MTV or calling boys. We knew everyone that lived on our road and several roads branching further out. We were never scared. We didn't have cell phones to stay in constant touch with our parents, we just showed up at someone's house to eat around noon. Sleepovers were spontaneous and sometimes involved sleeping outside on the trampoline.
We lived on 1 1/4 acres, a corner lot on the site of the old Spring River schoolhouse. The property still had the concrete foundation of the school house, the well house, both stone outhouses and the coal shed when we moved there. The girls outhouse eventually was turned into a clubhouse by Tater and her best friend (it was so old there was no uhm....evidence it had ever been an outhouse). The coal shed was where we stored our bikes, the dog had puppies and sixty bazillion wasps lived. The concrete foundation served as a stage, a great place to ride your bike off and do stunts, was marked with the black scars from "snakes" on the 4th of July and eventually became a raised garden for tomatoes and geraniums. My prom pictures were taken in the well house. A few years back the new owners bulldozed the outbuildings and the schoolhouse's foundation. I cried.
When someone in the community passed away, one of the neighbors, usually my mother, went house to house taking up donations to buy flowers for the bereaved; the card always read "the people of the Ottawa community". Casserole dishes were passed around liberally, always full, either on the coming or the going.
We had a party line.
We planted a garden.
We shot off fireworks on the 4th.
During the Iran hostage crisis there was a big yellow ribbon around the tree in the front yard.
Our yard saw many a wiffle ball game, croquet game and Easter egg hunt.
We had a go cart.
We had a pool.
We had an aerial antenna and that only afforded us three channels - until we got a gigantic satellite dish with a hand crank planted in the back yard.
We never had pizza delivered to our house.
We lived in a close-knit community. Most of the mommas stayed at home and if the daddies weren't farmers they worked at BFGoodrich in Miami. We helped each other out, we supported each other, everyone kept an eye on each other's kids, we played pranks, made casseroles and lived life the best way we knew how.
I've said it before,but it's true: where I come from has made me who I am today.
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