Calendar of events:
May 2011--- My oldest child graduated high school (Next year, my youngest will graduate, I am sure that will be another blog)
May 2012--- I graduated college.
May 2014--- The boyfriend from my previous blogs, turned out to be a dud.
August 2014-- He was replaced with what I hope will be my son-in-law in the future.
August 2014-- I got my dream job, well not the dream job, but I got to work with the dream team...for sure!
January 2015--- My position was discontinued for the following school year, leaving me jobless.
June-August 2015--- Extreme bout of depression as I ferociously applied for over 60 jobs. Highlight-got to visit my bestie in SC.
August 2015--- Actually got my dream job! With my dream team! Due to the trickle down effect, I got to teach something I love; English!
January 2016--- County closed a school, displacing tenured teachers. With me being at the bottom of the list, I was one of a few that were cut for the upcoming school year. Again, leaving me jobless.
In March of this year, my father and mother bought a new home (Sadly, he hasn't been able to close yet) and I found out that I will be moving into their old home. This house is a stone's throw from his new house. I haven't let myself get too excited, partially because change sucks and I have lived in the house I am in for 17 years. The other reason is because, change sucks. HA No, really I feel like if I buy into the giddiness of moving closer to my father, something cosmic will happen and some hippie communist will pop out of the sky and yell, "Psych!," right in my face and then spit in my gaping mouth.
I've always felt that my father's hometown was mine. Several years ago, I wrote a short essay about how I felt about Bakerton and such. Hard to believe that, soon enough, Bakerton will be where I finally plant my roots.
I'd like to share my essay....I hope you enjoy.
The green steps were steep. They rested against the huge bluish grey porch like a ladder and when we pretended the porch was our ship, they didn’t even exist. But when they weren’t a part of my invented world, I avoided those steps. With holes and craters filled with rain water, the concrete uneven, cracked and slick with a mysterious green substance. I used to firmly believe that if I used those steps, I would fall and crack my head open. But, I have memories of using those steps, broken or not.
Much like the steps, my childhood wasn’t perfect, but it was functional. From the outside looking in, my childhood was the same; functional. I played with the kids outside, I went to school, I had food to eat, shelter, and clothes. No one could see the flaws, from the outside. No one could see the deep grooves scooped away by years of expectations not met. No one could see the slime dripping off every angle, rendering my childhood imperfect. Just like those green steps, I have memories of times in my childhood when through someone’s eyes, I was perfect.
I don’t always remember how we got here every three to four years, but I vividly remember my excitement. The anticipation of coming ‘home’ meant more to me as a child than that same feeling other children would get about Christmas morning. I remember being in the back of dad’s truck with John and watching the trees get closer together and feeling the bumping as the road got rougher and knowing we were almost there, knowing I would have arms around me soon and kisses on my cheeks, knowing I was almost to the place where I was perfect in someone’s eyes.
The sidewalk out front looked very much like the steps attached to the porch. Pitted and pocked with loose concrete scattered around. This dilapidated sidewalk surrounded by tall, untamed and eerie Boxwood led straight to my haven. The bluish grey porch framed the entire front of the house and most of the way down the right, where at the end was a door that led to the kitchen. A horse on springs had its stall along the wall to the kitchen. The horse was not mine, he was not bought for me, but he loved when I rode him and stretched those springs, banging the base on the bluish grey porch. Although, he did not neigh or nod his head, I could tell in his painted black eye, he saw me as perfect.
Bang! “Don’t let the screen door slam shut!” Bang! The front screen door always slammed shut. I made it slam, Monte Jr. made it slam, Monica made it slam, and John made it slam. Cousins are better than friends, blood makes them better. A rhythmic screech, beating like a heart, came from the swing in the corner or the porch. Back and forth, higher and higher. Pushing so hard with our toes, to feel them leave the ground again and again. Chains grinding into their resting place in the hooks that grew out from the slates above our heads. Freedom, I was free to laugh and be loved and pretend and be a kid. Heaven feels like that, I think, with brown cousin eyes that saw me as perfect.
Round the house, around and around, running full force with wet grass in my toes only to stop and tip-toe over the sidewalk in front. Hide and go seek, red light, green light, ghosts in the graveyard, and Simon says; games of cousins during a simpler time. Our instant gratification came when the perfect man gave us a nickel. Standing on green steps, Granddaddy’s hands dug into faded blue Dickies pockets. Tired hands holding our happiness, pushing aside the pocket knife and the peppermint to find us shiny silver nickels to buy fireballs with. Watching us run towards the store with eyes that saw all of us as perfect.
Sister, she should have been my sister. I used to tell my friends I had a sister who lived in West Virginia and would make up a story as to why she didn’t live with me. Lish was everything I wanted to be; pretty, older, pretty, skinny, pretty, living in WV, and of course pretty. I never felt like ‘less than’ or ‘not good enough’ with her. Times with her were always educational, with something new or different for me to experience. Sleeping in a creepy basement full of rocks, dancing around poles, laughing so hard until ribs ached. This was a different haven, but another haven nonetheless and my ‘sister’ owned another set of brown eyes that saw me as perfect.
Bursting in the darkness, with a backdrop of trees and framed by the darkest night in July were tons and tons of rockets, roman candles, sparklers, exhilaration, and a child’s delight. Men handled the danger, safely tucked on the deck I watched with wonder. Thirsty, I stepped inside to take a drink, anger erupted from her. Swinging, slap, draw back, slap, her words felt like bullets to me. But Grandma was not afraid to say stop, to protect me from the blows. To show me I was worth more, to prove that I was also perfect in her eyes.
Those days are gone and new memories are in the process of being made. The word ‘roots’ has two meanings. It can either be the where you are from and where your family is or it also means how a plant or tree gets what it needs to exist. A word that has two meaning is called a homonym. For me, both of the meanings pertain to my life. My ‘roots’ have always been here with my family, thousands of miles away and I was always proud to say, “I am from West Virginia, in a little town called Bakerton.” Who I am as a person has a direct and an indirect connection to this family and that house. Dad’s stories connected me here when we were far away and my memories did the same thing. I received the best of who I am from here; what I needed to exist. No matter where I lived, I longed to be here, where I was loved and wanted and where I was perfect in someone’s eyes.