The word conjures up a lot of feelings in me. All my life I have been a bit of a nomad, so home is a precious word to me. My dad was in the Army, and while we didn’t do the “move every two year’ gig, we did move from place to place smack dab in the middle of my formative years. We left Ft. Carson, Colorado in between my third and fourth grade year to move to Ft. Belvior, Virginia where we lived until the beginning of my eighth grade year. When we left Virginia I thought my heart would break…especially since we were leaving my beloved state to move to Ft. Riley, Kansas! REALLY? Kansas…what the heck, I thought. All I knew about Kansas I learned from the “Wizard of Oz.” I imagined it gray, windy and desolate. What I found was completely the opposite….I found a hometown ripe with color and wonder.
I hadn’t really thought much about the little town in Kansas where I spent my high school and college years until recently. Recently, I have had the absolute pleasure of reconnecting with many of my high school classmates and it has brought back a flood of memories of my years spent in one of the quaintest little towns in the Midwest…Manhattan, Kansas. The Little Apple. I’ve been asked by my high school friends how often I get home. Home ~ I think to myself with a warm flood of emotions washing over me. Hmmmm, not that often, I have to reply. It’s been at least seven years since I’ve been to, what many would consider, my hometown. And I don’t know why. I can’t give them a good answer when they ask why I haven’t been home.
Maybe it’s because I went from being an Army Brat to being an Army wife and “you have to bloom where you are planted” and live life knowing “home is where the heart is.” I was able to live in the moment and put the past behind me, forgetting the past places I had been. I did a very good job at living in the moment, maybe I took it to heart a little too ferociously, throwing away my claim to my hometown in the process.
I do think it’s important to “bloom where you are planted” and all that jazz. But what I have learned through reconnecting with my friends is that it’s phenomenal to let the feelings of wanting to go home wash over you and serve as a reminder of who you are and where you came from.
Manhattan…the name brings back thoughts of the Riley County fair with all the fun and excitement of a small town fair. When I think of Manhattan, images of water skiing on Lake Tuttle, partying in Aggieville, the Christmas lights on Poyntz Ave, book shopping at Varney’s, wandering around the beautiful K-State campus and going to little zoo behind the high school flash through my mind. Manhattan is such a vibrant little city and one I realize, now, that I miss.
I know someday my kids will leave the confines of Richmond, Virginia and go set the world on fire their own way. I hope they can live in the moment and have their home where their heart is. But I also hope they don’t throw away their connection to their hometown. I can’t tell you how very happy I am to have reconnected with my old friends, become closer to some I didn’t know well and let the thoughts of going home once again stir up some very fond memories. My facebook status has been updated to now show that I have a hometown…Manhattan, Kansas.
Going home is for the love of my children…