15

Hometown *Updated*

Posted by Sue on August 24, 2007 in Life, Self-exploration |

I can't remember if I've actually blogged about this before or just put an extra long comment on someone else's blog. If I did it to you, I'm sorry. I can get a little long-winded sometimes. (Shaddup.)

I'm an Iowan. I was born here, albeit several miles to the south. After my birthparents married and moved to the big city of Des Moines, in the center of the state I lived there for a couple of shortened years before my birthmother got sick with polio and ended up being put in the hospital. Eventually, she was transferred to the University Hospitals in the eastern part of the state and I was shipped to the northwest area to live with my paternal grandparents. Two years down the road my mother had died, my dad had remarried, and we were once again in Des Moines. After a year my family moved to an itty bitty town in central Iowa. About as rural as you can get and still be in a town. We didn't live there very long, about a year, but my dad changed jobs and we moved to a small college town not far from Des Moines. I loved it there. It was the true "small town" experience. He tried to be in business for himself, working out of our house, and it didn't work out so finally we moved back to Des Moines and he resumed working for his old company.

What all this rambling is telling you is we moved a lot… but my parents always had their base in Des Moines and had friends that lived there and that they reconnected with every time they moved. Even after retiring and moving to Arkansas, when they had their fire and their home was destroyed they came back to Des Moines and the same friends were there, waiting with open arms. That was their hometown. Me? I just went from place to place and never really bonded with anyone… feeling like the new kid in class pretty much each and every year. I didn't develop those strong friendships most kids have when they go to school with someone for a long time and share the teachers and the inside jokes. I stayed in the back of the class and watched, the outsider.

This is my husbands' hometown. He has lived in this area his whole life, except the years he was in the service. He has friends he has had since he was a kid. Our kids went to school with some of the same teachers my husband had! Although this is a college town in many ways it is still small town and you can barely turn around without someone knowing you… or of you… and it became my kids' hometown, too. The place they grew from a very small age or were actually born here. They, too, have friends they've known forever and attachments that will last.

This all brings me back (in a quite round-about way) to the reason for this post. I have said before that I read all the time. I have this strange thing I do that when I see an author mention, oh, say, Iowa… or some city in Iowa in their books… I freak! My heart beats faster and I actually have to check out the author again to see if they are from around here. What is the Iowa connection?  You can imagine how I felt when watching "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" or "Field of Dreams"! Trust me, it is amazing just how many times Iowa gets mentioned! Usually it's the sweet young innocent thing that turns into a stripper or gets killed or something equally icky.  Or… it's the dumb salesman who just got off the bus and loses his wedding ring to said stripper at the Vegas casino he just happened to stumble into… yeaaaah… whatever. Iowa is portrayed at being in the middle of nowhere. Okay, I'll give you that. It is. But it is the way we like it!

So I get perhaps even more excited to find out some of YOU have Iowa connections. I won't name names, just because I'm not wanting to 'out' anyone who hasn't given all that much personal info to the world yet, but I just met a guy the other day online that I chatted with for quite awhile and realized he not only was from Iowa, but I knew right where… and I may have actually SEEN him back when he lived here! He and his wife, both are from here… and got married not more than 5 miles from my house! Freaky, I tell ya.  He ran for the hills of the great Northwest… but another Iowan only got as far as Missouri before she stopped. Then there is the one who grew up in Iowa that actually lives clear across the globe! I mean, talk about gettin' out of town!

So, is it weird for me to think this is a cool thing? Do you get excited when you read something unexpected about your state… even just in passing? Do you get intrigued when someone is from your area and wonder what their life experiences were there…and why they left? If you were the one who left, do you ever go 'home'?

I'm curious. Where are you from – what you consider your "hometown"? (Feel free to comment anonymously if you want… I think my comments accept that.)

*Update* Michael put the following in the comments and I originally was going to add all these, but didn't want the post to get toooo long. At any rate, they are some more "Iowa" connections. "And there's plenty of other movies;the Straight Story with Sissy spacek, The Indian runner with David morse, Harvest of Fire/ Lolita Davidovich, A Thousand Heroes/ Charleton Heston,Country/ Jessica Lange, The Bridges of Madison County, Michelle Bense,
Starman fell in Cedar Rapids, Terms of Endearment,Noises Off, Pennies From Heaven, Twister, Michael,Miles From Home, Fist, Children of the Corn, Puppet Masters,Take This Job and Shove IT, Mommy, the TV series Coach, all involveIowa in one way or another, I think Radar mentioned he was from Iowa
in MASH. Calamity Jane is from fictional Grandville, Iowa. There are books like The Second Nevraska Cavalry that is about the Sioux massacres on the 1862 plains, Morning Ran Red is about the axe murders in Villisca, Iowa. There are a host of famouse people from Iowa as well; Tom Arnold, Johnny Carson, Harriet Nelson, Cloris Leachman, Nick Nolte, Donna Reed, even John Wayne, and Jerry Mathers as the Beaver…Laura Ingalls, John Deere, Harry Reasoner, Anne Landers, Glenn Miller, C.W. McCall, Andy Williams, Maimie eisenhower, Wyett Earp, Tom Thumb, Buffalo Bill, Herbert Hoover, Henry Wallace, James Van Allen, George Washington Carver and Norman Borlaug."

15 Comments

  • Sally says:

    Okay, my Iowa connections:
    My aunt and uncle used to live in Keokuk, IA, which I visited.
    I drive through Iowa at least once a year as I head to Kansas to visit my family. I always stop in Story City each way.
    I think Iowa is beautiful and an idyllic representative state for the farming Midwest.
    I love the windfarms near the MN border. Iowa seems pretty windy.
    I once considered attending college in Iowa.
    If given the choice to move to Iowa or back to my home state of Kansas, I’d choose Iowa.

    I tend to get sentimental over places I’ve lived and excited over connections with those places made in books, movies and tv. Most of the stories I write are set in the places of my fondest memories.

  • Emma Liar says:

    No Iowa connections here that I’m aware of, but my hometown is my hometown, will always be my hometown, and even though I’m living in the second state since I left my hometown, when I get homeSICK, it’s still for my hometown. It’s a historical town, though not many people recognize the name of it, and I don’t really have many friends left there that have stuck with me through my moves. Funny thing – my blog is an easy way to “stick with me,” but the friends I’ve given the link to just don’t. I have a couple good friends in a nearby big city whom I’ve met through blogging and they – THEY have stuck with me, been my biggest supporters.
    I will go back to my hometown, and even though I may have very few “old” friends there, the town, itself, is my friend, and I have no doubt that I’ll make more people-friends, because that’s just how the town is, and did I mention? – It’s MY town.

  • golfwidow says:

    I have never been to Iowa.

    That said, I love when I see a connection, however tenuous, with my home state. My ears perk up and my eyes focus sharply when I hear or see anything in the news, or I read a book that takes place in a town I’m very familiar with – Stephen King wrote a short story that took place in Stratford, CT, and I knew every landmark he mentioned … it was like having a mutual friend.

  • Jan says:

    Hmmm…interesting.

    I was born in a little town in Georgia, but my growing up years were in Alabama.

    I don’t consider the town where I was born as my hometown, having moved from there when I was eight years old.

    I usually say, ‘down home’ when referring to Alabama, but I have no affinity for it per se.

    I’ve lived many places, moved around a lot, and feel no particular closeness to any town, or state.

    I always think I will, but when I go there, just to see what it’s like now, I feel no particular closeness.

    I do like to see a place I know mentioned in a book, or a movie, though.

    I’ve always felt as if I didn’t ‘belong’ anywhere.

  • Sam says:

    First off, I am so sorry for not coming here sooner. I try to visit people that comment, because it is interesting to see what they’re like, in a very similar way to the Iowa thing. It gives me a thrill to know that people have been or live in places that I have lived, it’s the whole connection thing that even anti-social recluse types (which I tend to be) cannot deny. So, for my Iowa connection…my father-in-law (that I live with) is from Iowa. He went to Iowa State (I think? He wears red Iowa shirts ALL the time). So there you have it! And I think you just started me off on a post on my blog, about places and belonging.

  • Nat says:

    Miles and miles and miles away from Iowa. 🙂 The truly marvelous thing about the net.

    I was born in Moncton, New Brunswick. We moved to Ottawa when I was 6 1/2.

    Although home is really wherever my boys are at, in geographic sense, I guess The East Coast will always feel like home. it’s where I feel most connected. Ottawa is sort of the place I ended up. I feel no great connections to it — just to that my people are here. (This makes no sense but it’s how I see it.)

    Anyway… there it is. I have rambled longer here than on my own blog today. ha!

  • sizzle says:

    I wish I had Iowa connections but sadly, none that I know of. Illinois, yes. California, yes. Canada, yes. I lived in the same town on the same street until I was 21 in Campbell, CA. Then I lived in Santa Cruz, CA for 12 years. And now I live in Seattle and it’s the most like “home” that I’ve ever felt.

  • Lisa says:

    No Iowa connections. Where I live is small, though you’d not think that till you lived here awhile and realize how many paths cross each other. I grew up in a small town of 5,ooo in Ohio. Moved there in middle school and graduated from high school there. Graduating class of 70. Because not many outsiders moved in, most others knew each other since grade school and I never stopped feeling like the outsider and never felt like I ever truly fit in. Incredibly liberal college town. Artistic. Cool place. Glad for my time there in spite of the rest, it definitely shaped who I am today.

  • Michael says:

    The only Iowa connection I openly admit to is you Sue.

    But I did watch Field of Dreams. And there’s plenty of other movies;
    the Straight Story with Sissy spacek, The Indian runner with David morse,
    Harvest of Fire/ Lolita Davidovich, A Thousand Heroes/ Charleton Heston,
    Country/ Jessica Lange, The Bridges of Madison County, Michelle Bense,
    Starman fell in Cedar Rapids, Terms of Endearment,
    Noises Off, Pennies From Heaven, Twister, Michael,
    Miles From Home, Fist, Children of the Corn, Puppet Masters,
    Take This Job and Shove IT, Mommy, the TV series Coach, all involve
    Iowa in one way or another, I think Radar mentioned he was from Iowa
    in MASH. Calamity Jane is from fictional Grandville, Iowa.
    There are books like The Second Nevraska Cavalry that is about the Souix
    massacres on the 1862 plains, Morning Ran Red is about the axe murders in
    Villisca, Iowa. There are a host of famouse people from Iowa as well;
    Tom Arnold, Johnny Carson, Harriet Nelson, Cloris Leachman, Nick Nolte,
    Donna Reed, even John Wayne, and Jerry Mathers as the Beaver…
    Laura Ingalls, John Deere, Harry Reasoner, Anne Landers, Glenn Miller,
    C.W. McCall, Andy Williams, Maimie eisenhower, Wyett Earp, Tom Thumb,
    Buffalo Bill, Herbert Hoover, Henry Wallace, James Van Allen, George
    Washington Carver and Norman Borlaug…

    I call my hometown Jonesboro, Arkansas. Although I was deported at a ripe
    early age and in fact was not born there at all, despite what my most
    recent birth certificate may infer. I chose to familiate with jonesboro
    because our family never stayed in one place long enough to set down roots.
    Six months was the average stay in one place for my family as I grew up.
    Of course I felt fortunate because my natural mother never managed to keep
    a marriage for more than about the same amount of time. She forged the
    disposable generation for the food industry.

    I may have more Iowa connections than just you Sue, but you know how it is
    being from Iowa, no one likes to admit it.

  • Chuck says:

    I spent a lot of time as a kid moving around as well. My longest times have been spent in Alabama and Tennessee. I consider both Birmingham and Knoxville home. That gets real weird around football season. If you know anything about SEC college football rivalries then you’ll understand.

    I also get excited when I see either of my “home” states on television or in the movies. Unfortunately they are usually mentioned in a negative “stummin’ the banjo/back assward” kind of way. I recently found out that there will be another Tennessean on the new season of Survivor. Then I heard that he is a chicken farmer. How country is that? Yeah…

    I’m so glad you visited my blog today and thanks for the comment and add. I’ll be doing the same and I’ll be back and reading through your stuff as well. Hope you don’t mind me gettin’ all in your business! lol

    I’ve never been to Iowa but I’d love to visit someday.

  • whit says:

    I’m from Tucson, and I suppose that the 27 years I put in there, plus all of my family being there, would make it home. Still, when I close my eyes at night and think of the place I miss it is Seattle.

  • Rhea says:

    I have zero Iowa connections but two of my all-time favorite movies you mentioned: Field of Dreams and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. I read Bill Bryson’s books and he always slams Iowa. Iowa strikes me as quintessentially American. I’m from a small town in New Jersey. Whenever NJ is mentioned, I always pay attention.

  • I have a charm on my charm bracelet from Iowa. It has a big pig in the middle and an ear of corn. That’s the kind of jewelry to be expected from the granddaughter of Indiana Dairy Farmers.

    I don’t have a place that quicken my pulse, per se, but when I read or hear anything that has the word ‘elastic’ in it, I practically leap and scream, “Are you talkin about me??!!!?” Sad, I know.

  • Carol says:

    No Iowa connections that I know of.

    The city I live in now (Baltimore – been here for 7 years) is the place I consider my hometown. It’s the only place I’ve ever lived where the people just accept you for who you are and that’s refreshing…and comforting, somehow. I feel like I can put down roots here.

  • Brad says:

    Sure, I like to talk to people from around here. I live in my hometown, and I’ve always loved it. It’s a community full of good neighbors and fun people.

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