Mapping out where I'm from- high school and college


So I know I've already touched on Columbus, but I felt like I needed to write more. Although middle school was rough for me (lots of fights, kicked out of classes, nearly suspended from school, grounded quite frequently, etc.), high school was not so bad.

Four days before my first day of high school I was hit by a car. I was already sporting a hot pink cast on my left wrist that I gained from playing softball and was set to get the cast off the next day. A friend of mine and I were walking across the street en route to a boys house (stupid boys) when a car going about thirty-five mph hit us. My friend walked away from the accident with a sprained knee. I wasn't so lucky. I suffered a busted shoulder, several head injuries, and had a severe case of road rash on my left leg. As a result, I spent four days in the hospital, two of which were in the ICU. As terrible as the accident was, I do think it wised me up.

Throughout high school I felt confined and I think it was due to my place. I felt like the town was too small for my large personality (I had several hair colors...red, purple, pink, black, bleach blonde and gauged ears). As a high school senior I spent many afternoons and evenings leaning up against my favorite tree at Pawnee Park (I couldn't find a decent link to attach here...sorry!) playing guitar, reading Kerouac novels, and dreaming about living in larger places. I don't know if I ever really appreciated Columbus...I sometimes wish I was more connected to this place.

Kearney- Part I

In August of 2004 I moved to Kearney to attend UNK with grandiose plans of becoming an actress. UNK was my second college choice, my first was Nebraska Wesleyan. But UNK was more affordable. I quickly fell in love with Kearney. It had a small town feel (28,000) but had all the amenities of a larger community. I fit in quickly on campus and involved myself with the Navigators where I led worship on Thursday nights. I also sang in two choirs at UNK: a large concert choir and another smaller chamber choir (choir is where I met my husband). After about five majors, during my sophomore year of college, I transferred to UNL. My husband and I had wanted to to live in Lincoln--The Land of Opportunity. So tearfully, I said good-bye to Kearney and headed east down I-80.


Moving to Lincoln was an exciting time. When I was in high school I had spent many weekends in the Lincoln/Omaha area attending concerts or visiting friends, so I felt like I was moving into a familiar place, but there was still an air of excitement. We loved living in Lincoln, but it ended up being a short stay for us. At the time, my husband was searching for his first teaching job and had no luck in the Lincoln area. In fact, he ended up getting a job in Elm Creek which is 15 miles west of Kearney. The move back to Kearney was for the better. I did not really enjoy my time at UNL. Though I loved living in Lincoln, I just didn't feel like UNL was a good fit for me...I felt foreign the entire semester. Being a transfer was difficult, everyone else I met had already carved their place at UNL, they were settled in and I felt like a wanderer.

Kearney- Part II

After my husband and I got married in July of 2006, we moved back to Kearney and I started up at UNK again this time as a Language Arts Ed. major. I wasn't sure that we would find a place in Kearney again, but we did. I fell in love with the town even more. I loved the apple orchard in Riverdale (about 6 miles northwest of Kearney), Cotton Mill park and the Oldfather Prairie trail where my husband moutnain biked and I ran, and my favorite coffee spot- Barista's Daily Grind. I loved seeing the Sandhill Cranes that stopped in the Kearney/Gibbon area or at Rowe Sanctuary every year--these cranes would fill up the field behind our duplex....if you haven't ever seen the cranes in this area, you ought to...it's a beautiful sight. I loved the rock garden at Harmon Park and I loved visiting MONA to look at the art and to listen to poets and author's read excerpts from their books in the main gallery, their voices echoing off the marble floors. I loved the downtown area that houses wine festivals, live music, an awesome used book store, several antique/thrift stores, and the occasional poetry reading. I felt at home in Kearney, in fact I oftentimes find myself telling people that I am from Kearney. Kearney is a beautiful town that will always hold a special place in my heart. We will be passing through on Friday as we travel to Lincoln, so I will try and take a few photos of my favorite spots to post on my blog.


Amy said...

I really love reading these things about where you are from Danielle! I already knew most of it, but you write so beautifully! I am so glad your path brought you to our family. You fit perfectly!!

Danielle said...

Thanks Amy! BTW...there are a few people taking a class with me this fall who are in an EdD cohort...small world. Can't wait to see you and your growing family this weekend!

Mr. Helzer said...

We are really fulfilling your high school dreams of living in large placed ;)