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The Places I've Loved

Monday, 27 September 2010, 7:19 AM



I was visiting with my Uncle Vernon, Aunt Pauline, and my cousins this weekend and, as always, the area I live in came up as a topic. My uncle grew up here and now shares a cabin with other members of the family. They come and visit to stay a weekend once in awhile and often I hear how one or the other would love to move back here, that it's great up here.

It is great here. It's quiet, beautiful scenery, and the people are really nice. But it started me thinking about the places I've lived and how each one was a place I loved. I can honestly say I've never lived anywhere that I found to be miserable. Each place that I have lived I found something special enough that I could have spent the rest of my life there.

I grew up in Loudon NH, if you are a Nascar fan you've heard of it. It's a small New England town near the capital of New Hampshire, Concord. Life was good growing up. The Spring always brought great run off that I pretended were rivers that I dammed up and made lakes out of. There was maple syrup cooking in the shack a few hundred feet down the road from us.

Sometimes my parents would take us kids to a maple syrup farm (or maybe we'd go on a school trip), it was a long time ago, but I do remember people dumping buckets of fresh snow on some kind of table and being given a toothpick to roll maple syrup in that was poured on the snow.

Summers I spent fishing with Dad. We'd go to the Capitol lawns at night and catch nightcrawlers with our hands, using flashlights to spot them.

Mostly Dad liked fishing for hornpout, a small catfish. They had barbs you had to be careful of. I got nicked a time or too and Dad would rub the wound on the fish's belly. That was supposed to cure the sting, though I don't recall it helping much.

I'd often spend weekends or even a month with my cousin Allen who was my age. We'd climb trees and go swimming. He had a neighbor, a girl who was a couple years older than us. She introduced us to the Beatles and I remember wishing she would introduce me to other things, but she never did.

In the Fall it was back to school and the trees turning color. There was Halloween to look forward to and after that Thanksgiving.

The winter would come and Mom would make sure we were bundled up. We'd spend the entire day outside on the weekends. There was sledding, and snow forts. Snowball fights and eating snowflakes.

When we moved to Alaska, I was excited about going. Alaska was all about fishing and hiking in the summer. Some of the greatest times I had was catching salmon with the rain pouring down on us. Getting home, we'd change clothes and drink Russian Tea, a concoction of hot Tang and spices (sugar, cinnamon, and cloves I think).

Fall was my favorite time of year. The bugs were pretty much gone, the air was cool but not yet freezing, and the days were still plenty long enough. You could smell the cranberries in the woods and the air was crisp.

Winters there were dark and claustrophobic but there was skiing and snowmobiling. If it weren't for the lack of sunshine, winter would have been great there.

I lived in Spokane WA for awhile. Spokane is the only city around for hundreds of miles and so is a little bit of a cultural center for the high plains desert of the Northwest. I had some really great friends there. I was a little wild then, but it was my age (mostly).

Lodi CA was my home for nearly 25 years. There are basically two seasons in the Central Valley of California. There is summer and then there is rain. The 100 degree heat baked us sun worshipers all summer long. I enjoyed the heat of summer and welcomed the winter rains and chill as the counterpoint to the rest of the year.

Now here I am, back where I came from; less than twenty miles from where I was born and where most of my family originated. It is great here. I could spend the rest of my life here and be content. Of course, if I do find myself somewhere else, I'm sure I would find something to love about being there as well.

Being home is loving where you are, and perhaps that has a little to do with loving who you are and who you spend time with. No matter where I've lived and no matter how fucked up my life seems at times, I always find something special; something to love in the place I find myself living.

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haniel45
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Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 1298
Location: N.C.
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PostPosted: Friday, 01 October 2010, 17:21 PM    Post subject:    

Great write, Mark!

I know how you feel. I'm originally from Ohio and, because of my husband's career, have lived in Wichita Falls, Texas (during the 1979 tornado), and Houston. Also lived in the very small berg of Catonsville, outside of Baltimore for one year and moved to North Carolina 20 years ago.

I (too) adjusted with each move, so much so that my family nicknamed me "Gypsy".

Even though we had a 2-1/2 y/o child whom we were "taking away" from grandparents, we were excited with the first move. It was an adventure and a blessing in disguise to be able to be exposed to a multi-cultured environment. And, it was a very good move, as far as our son was concerned. He thrived in his new environment and learned patience and tolerance at an early age. It was also good for him, as far as his first career was concerned...he was in the USAF and retired two years ago from the Air Force Academy in Colorado. He and his family knows how to pack lightly and move from location to location very quickly! Smile

Now we're home in North Carolina and loving it, though moving to our small town was quite an adjustment!!

I began my volunteer career because of our move to N.C. I doubt I would have volunteered as much had we stayed in Maryland.

I have maintained friendships with several people I've met over the years, and am grateful for the friends I have here.

As far my family is concerned, we decided years ago, that it's beneficial and a whole lot of fun learning how to adapt, tolerate, and cope with every kind of person and situation known to man!

~ Cindy ~
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Sir Daniel
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Joined: 02 Dec 2008
Posts: 265
Location: Daytona Beach, Florida
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PostPosted: Wednesday, 06 October 2010, 17:24 PM    Post subject:    

They used to say "home is where you hang your hat" but I've always believed instead that home is where you find people you love.. I'm from the MidWest, however my last trip "home" was over 7 years ago, and the trip before that was 11 years earlier.. although I do love people there, I have grown apart from that area and in all honesty, I would be bored to death if I ever wound up living there again..

Enjoyed your blog alot my friend, great to know a little bit about you.

take care,

~ Daniel
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Maggie
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Joined: 10 Aug 2005
Posts: 6449
Location: Eastern USA


PostPosted: Saturday, 20 November 2010, 8:36 AM    Post subject:    

Wonderful, heart-warming blog!!! Gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling. I love your attitude and positive outlook on life! A lesser person would probably have found things to complain about in your various residences even though they sound warm, welcoming and inviting when hearing about them from your perspective.

I've only lived two places during my 68 years on this earth. I like them both!!! My hometown was idyllic, a small town and I felt blessed to live there. When I turned 22 I moved to Virginia on the ocean because my new husband worked here. We lived one block from the water. I stayed here although he passed away.

I've wanted to travel different places and have done right much of it, but now I've found my home.

Thanks for the lovely read!!!!

Peggy
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