One of the hardest questions for me to answer is “What is your hometown?” or “Where did you grow up”, simply because for me there wasn’t any one place that this took place.
It started off in Michigan for about 7 years… but even then we didn’t live in just one place. We moved about every other year so it seemed. Then we moved to Florida for another three years. Thank goodness, we stayed in one place there—because as a youngster, I’ve come to learn one needs a place to establish one’s roots. After that, we were off to Oklahoma, and while we still spent our summers back in Florida at the previous residence, our school year was spent out near Tulsa. We were there 3.5 years, only moving once, after the first year. It seemed sooner than not, we were packing our bags again, this time we were New Jersey bound. Yes, talk about a culture shock!! We were only there 1.5 years and we had moved twice. Eventually, we moved back to Florida, where I attended one school for the last half of my 9th grade year, until we finally settled in another school district where I would then graduate high school. As you can see—not only is it hard to define where I grew up, but also on a personal level, it is harder to grasp a sense of belonging.
I tell people I grew up on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Mainly because, not only did I live there for three years, but we returned there every summer to be with my Grandma, to the same house we’d lived in before we moved to Oklahoma. Many of my childhood friends knew me from when I attended school there. When I moved away, they also got to see me each summer when I returned on school break. After leaving New Jersey, we once again returned to this area, so the connections to this area were never completely severed.
However, I was not ‘from’ Florida in the true sense of the word. I’m really from Michigan, and although we were fortunate enough to visit Michigan often, not one of my friends from my early childhood remember me, nor do they keep in touch with me. It is truly an era of my life gone by. I don’t feel any roots were able to be established in my true home state—simply because when we were there—we never stayed in one place very long.
When I graduated high school, I made a move to Ohio to go to college. That was almost 22 years ago, and I’m still here. I moved several times while in college—that is normal, I think. Then when I got married—we only moved 2 more times. Once to an apartment, and then into the home we decided to buy. When we moved into our home, my oldest was 2.5 years old, my second oldest was just born. We’ve been here 13.5 years now. The other three children were all born and raised under this very roof.
It is my intention to stay here as long as we can, just so my children will never have to struggle to answer questions like, “Where are you from?” or “What is your hometown?” I know their roots are not only planted here—but they are making connections that will last them a life time. It was something I couldn’t have in my upbringing, something I wish I would have had, and something I decided my kids should have. When they are old enough to go and explore the world—I want them to be able to know there is always a place in their mind that they call home.
What is your hometown?
Do you have more than one?