My Home Town

If I were to add up all the homes I have lived in during my lifetime, I would have to take off my shoes to help me count them. As for home towns I have only had one, and that one is right here. Sedalia!! I have lived on ships, in barracks, and homes in other towns, and after a while they all seemed a little like home, but there was always something missing, they were not in my home town. Here I can walk around a corner, and there will be a memory that has been waiting for me since I was a child playing there. I can look at the old marquee of the Uptown Theater, and remember when lights chased each other around it, to draw my attention to the movie under the “Playing Now” sign. I can drive by the East Side Shopping Center, and see my friends and I riding the merry-go-round, or scuffing our shoes as we swing in Washington Park, before all that concrete, and stores replaced the green grass and trees. I know I am not unique in feeling this way. I see the expressions on my wife, and sister-in-laws faces when we go to Willow Springs every year to tend their family grave sites. They have lived in Sedalia a lot longer than they ever did Willow Springs, but there is something in their expressions and the tone of their voices as they point out things that were there during their childhood, that says this is my hometown. Marlene and Joyce have memories of walking their main drag to attract the boy’s attention, the same way Sedalia girls did for us boys all those years ago. They remember riding down dusty roads without air conditioning in their father’s old truck, and swimming in the clear waters of the local streams. My brother-in-Law Jr. Jeffries and I are as lost listening to their childhood memories, as they are when we talk about ours here in Sedalia. It is clear to me as the girls talk, and their eyes shine at the memories of those old days, and those old boyfriends, that while they may love where they are now, they will never forget where their hometown really is. Unfortunately for them they only go home once a year, unlike me who can drive by those places every day if I want too. Seeing those old haunts once a year however, is better in its own way, because as everyone knows absence makes the heart grow fonder. I know that was true for me when I was in the navy. Those first few days when I would come back on leave were days of rediscovering Sedalia. I would rush around from place to place to reconnect with the wonderful memories, I had been telling my shipmates about, perhaps with a little embellishment. It was a special feeling I think can only be experienced in a person’s hometown, and while a home can be temporary, a hometown is forever, at least it is for me.