Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Seeds out of the Ground

During one of their heart-to-heart sessions recently, Sharon’s mother asked Sharon if she was ever embarrassed by her rural upbringing. I thought it a strange question since Sharon has always embraced her life growing up on the farm. Anyone who knows Sharon understands that her rural heritage brings nothing but pride to her. It seemed a strange question to me until I realized that not all children share the same pride that Sharon does in being a farmer’s child. Some of them move away from their roots, physically and mentally, only to realize later that the green grass on the horizon isn’t always so emerald. Funny how sometimes in our youth we can’t wait to shed the cloak of our pedigree only to end up embracing it as we get older.

Still some folks don’t see it that way. This came to mind recently when a dear colleague of mine decided to leave town. We’d worked together in television for over 35 years before she decided to move from Minnesota to points west. I’m going to miss her a lot. She was a confidant and able translator of most things female. She helped me understand the feminine psychic and was invaluable in helping me craft female characters for my novels. Now her husband has tired of Minnesota winters and decided to pack it in. They’re going to put down roots elsewhere. I certainly wish her well and will be curious how it goes for her.

Dorm for Mass General Hospital, Boston MA

I knew another woman who left the Twin Cities a long time ago. She was born and raised in a small Minnesota town. In college she couldn’t wait to escape the confines of her college campus for a career out east in Boston. Even Saint Paul and Minneapolis were too small for her worldly ambitions. While still an East Coast ex-pat today, she now proudly claims her small town upbringing on her Facebook page, has old classmates as Facebook friends and even flew back for her 50th high school class reunion.

Maryland Center for Public Broadcasting

The draw of ‘back home’ is strange and mysterious and yet ever present for many of us. In 1977, I was working at the Maryland Center for Public Broadcasting. It was, without a doubt, one of the premier public television stations in the country at the time. I had a great job, a nice house, wonderful friends there and a son just born. Yet I couldn’t wait to return to my Minnesota roots after an absence of five years. Go figure.

I’ve commented in past blogs on my amazement how important one’s upbringing is to so many people. While stationed at the Presidio of San Francisco I would sit around the barracks and listen to my bunk mates lament their being away from their home turf.

One missed being awaken each morning by the L train shaking him out of his bed. Another couldn’t wait to get back to the south side of Chicago just so he could hang out on his favorite street corner again. Our confederate Johnny Reb still didn’t trust Yankees even in the Golden State. He couldn’t wait to get back to Mississippi where they got things ‘right.’

Even with a great part-time job working at an art theater, easy living on base, a great MOS in journalism and adventures many a weekend in that city by the bay, I still missed my Minnesota roots. I wasn’t ready to return home just then but I knew I would once my thirst for new experiences and adventures had subsided.

Aerial view of Palm Springs, CA

Palm Springs is like a modern-day version of the fur trappers rendezvous. In Palm Springs everyone is from someplace else. I’m always taken aback when asked where I’m from and when I say Minnesota the other party may occasionally respond ‘Min-es-o-ta’ in their best Fargo imitation. I then calmly respond “No, I said Minnesota” and nothing more because it’s usually in polite company. Those are words uttered by the untraveled and uninitiated. Most of us got it a long time ago.

I’ve also referenced the interesting twists and turns of friendships in this regional melting pot in another blog entitled Like Snowflakes come and gone. Like many other resort towns such as Key West and Las Vegas a lot of the residents are transients in passing. They spend the winters away from home but like homing pigeons always leave in the spring.

For many, the siren call of our youth is a powerful magnet always calling us back home.

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