Monday, January 30, 2012

Six Places


Six Places

{1}  Kentucky - I was born in eastern Kentucky. It is home. We moved from there when I was four, but we went back often. I was able to visit last summer, and it brought up all sorts of things. My body felt like the vines of history twined around each limb. Poetry poured forth after my visit. I want to go back this summer. I'd really like to take my boys there. You understand a person better when you see where they come from. My grandmother's white house is a part of me. The winding roads and dirt hollers map my heart.


{2} Rocky Road - When we left Kentucky, we moved to Hopkins. First, there was trailer #13 in McDonald's Mobile Home Park and then, a year later, there was the single-wide on Rocky Road. We lived there from the time I was five until just before my 13th birthday. Rocky Road houses my childhood. I had chicken pox there. Wendy and I played house, dressed our Barbies, put on plays. Ashley and I have a picture of us sitting on the front steps, my baby sister between us. I insisted I was going to ice skate there (roller skates + snow = why did Mom say no?). That's where we lived when Dad left, when I cried all day on my pink bedspread. My baby sister arrived on Rocky Road. My Papaw died there. The trailer now sits empty, windows broken, lot overgrown.

{3} Lower Richland High School - The sidewalk by the library: that's where Brian kissed me for the very first time. It was the first time I was kissed by a boy I wanted to kiss me, and it was magical.  The "Diamond" where my friends and I spent our lunches for four years: it no longer exists. They put a building on top of our place. Mr. Latham's class: where I learned I did NOT want to be a journalist, but I did want to write. He and Mr. Martin were my writing encouragers. I owe them a lot. The football field: homecoming in the rain. The computer lab where I spent hours with Lynn, preparing the school literary magazine: who knew she would be dead in just five years. She left me her words on so many pages. The psych class where Pat doodled in my book and took my picture: he lived two years after high school. I found so many diamonds in that mine.

{4} Temple Baptist Church - I accepted Christ in that gym. It was painted two shades of blue. I met my husband there, though I'd have never guessed it at the time. Eric and I, kissing in the hall before VBS. Luke, his brother... yeah, I wasn't the best behaved teenager. But I had friends there - drama and pain, but friends too. Kim and Rebecca and Karen and Dustin and so many others. Pat walking me to the sanctuary, one arm around my shoulders, ever the gentleman. George Porter smiling so big. Phil Chappell with the orange tiger paw on his glasses, flirting like only an old man can flirt and get away with it. Pool parties and pizza and just what did Jesus want from me. Trey baptized me there, and both of my parents came.

{5} Pilgrim's Way - God got us there through Ashley's sister forging a note so she could ride home on the bus with me. I took my first communion there. I worshiped the teenagers and their lock-ins. Mom sang. She met her husband there. She married him and, later, Preacher married Corey and I before the same altar. I learned to read my Bible in Peggy's Sunday School class, where I sat next to Pam.  Ms. Anne offered a dollar for each commandment I could learn. The very next week, I recited all ten, thankyouverymuch. Now, it's where my Uncle Greg's body rests, near Preacher and Ms. Virginia. The once-empty cemetery now holds too many friends.

{6} Target - It isn't there anymore. Rather, the building I worked in isn't there. It was bulldozed and rebuilt. Newer, cleaner, bigger, better I suppose. I answered the telephones, and I could see clear across the store from my little desk by the fitting rooms. I met Joey there. Summer and Marcielle taught me more than just zoning and pricing and replacing watch batteries. Honestly, there is too much in my gut to write this one down. I suppose, I grew up there. That's all.

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