Thursday, May 7, 2009

Reconnecting with my hometown, that SUX

There was always a little bit of George Bailey in me as a kid. I was convinced that I was going to leave my hometown and travel the world (and to a large extent, I have)...and never look back.

When people used to ask me where I was from originally, I'd say "Sioux City. A great place to grow up. And leave." I really am glad I had my eyes opened to how lucky I was to grow up in a place like that.

Then a funny thing happened. I grew up. Last summer I had my 20-year HS reunion, an event I was dreading in many ways. I was probably one of the few single members of my class for one thing, I figured. In addition, I didn't exactly have a blast at the 10 year reunion. You could say my excitement level about the 20th reunion was somewhere between getting a root canal or doing your tax returns.

But I went to the reunion, and surprise of all surprises, I had an awesome time. And I reconnected with people I hadn't talked to in years, as well as began conversations with classmates I never took the time to know back in the day. And that has continued over to the Internet through email and Facebook, as well as text messages and phone calls.

Over the last 11 months, I've been in Sioux City visiting family and friends more than I had in the previous 20 years since I left. I've talked with friends over a dog at Milwaukee Weiner House, or enjoyed a fresh out of the oven Jerry's pizza with my sons, and hearing them get excited when we go to visit my parents about the prospect of ordering "That one guy's pizza."

Every time I've been back, I have been lucky enough to hang out with people from my past, and found that it is easy to pick up where things left off, and reminisce about childhood and high school memories.

And now each time I pack up and head down to Siouxland, I think to myself, I'm going home. To Sioux City. A great place where I grew up. Period. Someone order me a Charlie Boy!

4 comments:

~Trish~ said...

I agree with everything in this post. I have also been back more over the last year than I have in the last 20+ years. Have a fantastic weekend!! One of these times we'll both be back home at the same time LOL

Lady Hampton said...

Same here... SUX was the "nice place to be FROM..." I admit that Facebook has helped me reconnect with my past - something I thought I'd put behind me. Turns out that I'm a better person for that place and especially for "those" people. Too bad it took 20+ years to figure that out...

MaryBeth said...

Well put. I couldn't agree more. My only regret was the lack of self confidence to attempt to reconnect sooner (like acting on the "why bother" attitude for the renuion. instead of doing like I was taught and pulling myself together and taking a chance.) I was certain know one would remember me, or that what the would remember would be embarassing to me, or...that everyone else had an easier time navigating the teenage world of boys/girls, relatiohships, fashion... (you all did right?) What I remember were those adventures we shared; triumphs, heartbreaks and just a lot of laughs. I helps to sooth the "nobody knows me here...sydrom people who have moved far from home know only too well. Kudos to you for saying it so eloquently and allowing us to share. I am ok with who I am now, who I have become, and where I have come from. And I owe it all to the family & friends in SUX...

Kelli Z said...

That was an awesome post. I struggled for 15 years staying here, but now that my kids are growing up here, I have no regrets. They are getting to experience the same things that I did. They may not think much of it now, but some day they will think back and have happy memories also. I missed my highschool friends so much after highschool. They left I stayed due to a great job. I missed everyone, but now that you have all traveled back to visit I'm so lucky to have reconnected with all of you as well. Keep coming "home" everyone, we love to have you here!