Reading through this week's reading assignments and viewing other Place Conscious blogs made me think about the places I have lived. I decided that I would describe a little about each place that I have lived because I really do feel that these places have shaped me into the person I am now. I wish I had pictures for some of these places, but unfortunately my family is not big into pictures. So words will have to do :)I was born in Omaha, Nebraska and lived all over eastern Nebraska and in a small Iowa town during the first two years of my life. After my parents divorced my mom and I moved back to her home town, Columbus, Nebraska. She asked her parents for help, but they lovingly told her she was on her own. They believed in tough love, and it worked. My mom found a modest apartment she could afford, landed a job waitressing at Pizza Hut, and invested in a sturdy bike that was equipped with a baby seat. This is how I got to and from daycare every day, on the back of a bike. My mom is one tough cookie and I respect her for forging her own path after my biological dad left. When I was three or four my mom married her high school sweetheart, my step-dad (who I refer to as my dad) who had just returned from the Army. We then moved to Milford, Nebraska and lived on campus at Southeast Community College so my dad could go to school. Soon after, my brother was born. I don't remember much about Milford, but I do remember that there were other families who lived on campus. We had a swing set in the backyard that all of the kids played on in the evenings while our dads either went to work or did homework. I remember that my parents went to the food pantry every now and then because we were dirt broke. It seems like these were some of the toughest years in my parents' lives, yet my dad talks about this place more than any other place we've ever lived.
Omaha, Columbus, and Milford
Omaha, Columbus, and Milford
CreteWhen I entered Kindergarten we moved to Crete, Nebraska where my mom worked at Region V with mentally and developmentally disabled adults. My dad commuted to Lincoln to work at Appleton and my brother and I went to school at St. James Elementary, a small Catholic school. We lived in an old, Victorian style home that was a block from the city pool. The house was so old that on our deed there was no year listed; instead, where the year would be listed it simply said "old." The house was quite the "gem" when we moved in. Their was no electricity in the upstairs, the basement was unfinished, the kitchen and bathroom were in serious need of repair, and the dining room had bare wires sticking out in some places. Fortunately my dad is a handy man. He wired the upstairs (although he never got to my brother's room!), completley flipped the kitchen and bathroom, remodled my bedroom, started on my brother's room, and fixed up the dining room. It seemed like this house was in constant disarray, at one point my mom had no kitchen sink and she had to wash the dishes in the bathtub! I loved this house. It had a spiral staircase, french doors leading into the living room that housed an antique up-right piano, a gigantic yard, a clawfoot bathtub (before the rennovation), and my bedroom was the best: an attic-looking room equipped with two large built in bookcases that housed every single Babysitter's Club book available to man-kind and two small windows that I often sat in front of reading the night away. I would have loved to stay in Crete for my entire life. We ened up moving to Columbus the summer before I started 7th grade (years are fuzzy for me). My brother and I were devestated. The day I moved I was supposed to meet my best-friend, Kevin, to say good-bye. Kevin was so sad that he wrote me a letter and gave it to a mutual friend to give to me. I remember sitting in the backseat watching out the back window, tears running down my face hoping that Kevin would run down the block. My brother was only in 1st or 2nd grade but had a terrible time with the move. It actually ended up being a pretty traumatic event for him. The rest of elementary school was a rocky road...he was made fun of a lot and turned to fighting these hooligans which led him to be suspended quite frequently.
My family moved here to be closer to my grandparents (I suppose new jobs played a role in this move as well!). My dad accepted a job working at one of the many factories in town working as a supervisor and my mom found a job working at a place similar to Region V. Columbus was a large adjustment for us. We went from a town of 5,000 to a town of 20,000. Looking back on our move and our time in Columbus, I am beginning to realize that it was more of a rough transition for my brother and I than we probably realized at the time. Like I said earlier, he didn't fit in in this new place and thus turned to fighting to stick up for himself. I was no angel child either. I found a few friends, but got in more trouble than when we lived in Crete. I talked like crazy in my classes and drove my teachers nuts. I also had quite the attitude, this put me in the principal's office more times than my parents would have liked. 7th grade was also my first fist-fight and my first experience with alcohol. Luckily, by about my freshman/sophomore year of high school, I straightened up and turned out to be a pretty good kid. It's funny how much a place can affect or change a person. I'm sure when we first moved to Columbus, my parents probably wondered if they had made the right decision simply because of the drastic turns my brother and I took.