Friday, October 12, 2007

My hometown

My hometown is the kind of place…

--where the self-professed “only Democrat in town” describes the town as stuck in time, “like a bug in amber”

--where his wife says, “That’s what I like about this town”

These painted figures on a building on Main Street, faded but still there, for as long as I can remember.

--where they meticulously maintain their historical society and museum

--where the cornfields end right at the town limit

--where you can run into a classmate from 26 years ago and be greeted with a hug and an invitation to dinner

--where, during a conversation with someone you’ve just been introduced to, you learn that her boss is the same man who hired you for his new factory so you could earn money for college, and that she is also friends with your former English teacher

--where that high school English teacher still remembers you

--where your neighbor spends a few hours mudding (plastering) the new walls in the old house you’re renovating, on his day off and without your even knowing it until you come home

--where you can walk out your front door and hear a belted kingfisher over the river within five minutes

--where the riverbed still holds a car that was dumped there many years ago

--where a past acquaintance (and new friend) knows the people living in the house you used to live in, and moreover, offers to call them up the next morning so you can see the inside of the house

--where you can let your kids walk around at night

--where they still have paper boys and girls

--where the out-of-the-house options for a good time on a Friday night consist primarily of: going to the high school football game, going to the Mexican restaurant for cheap Margaritas, or driving half an hour to see a movie

--where a waitress says to the former Americans visiting from Australia, “If you’re from Australia, how can you speak English so well?”

--where your African-American friends from out of town are reluctant to come visit, because they have to drive through an area of KKK activity

--where you're out of luck if you don't have transportation and need to get to a reproductive health clinic

--where you were introduced to feminism through the library

--where the residents had such a hard time switching to a new emergency phone system that the local newspaper ran the headline, “To Call 911, Dial 9-1-1”

--where they had to run that headline because people kept trying to reach 911 by dialing the town’s 3-digit exchange first

--where that newspaper is titled The Rushville Republican

--where the names on the election signs are the names of people you went to high school with

--where people who barely know you go out of their way to let you know that you are welcome, even if you are a bisexual feminist tree-hugging Buddhist progressive

--where at noon, a church carillon plays “Let Freedom Ring,” followed by “Grand Old Flag,” and the finale, “Let There Be Peace on Earth”

--where you realize, finally, that the town was neither as good or as bad as you remember, and is, in the end, no matter how far away you travel, your hometown.

p.s. For more pictures of Rushville, Indiana, and a more narrative reminiscence, go here. (It will make more sense if you click the "Arrange" tab and choose "arrange by date taken, oldest first.")


Jason said...

That's a very beautiful post.

Anonymous said...

i just learned more about my own hometown than i knew before i read that. those church bells are so annoying, too.

Julie said...

Hello, anonymous...I would love to know who you are, just because I like to know who dropped by, especially from Rushville! Email me at if you don't mind...