Home at last
I grew up in a mid-sized town on the west side of the Salt Lake Valley. When I was a kid I had friends who lived next door, across the street and around the block. As a teenager my friends lived a little further away, but still in the same basic area.
Kearns was often looked down on by those in neigbhoring cities as the "wrong side of the tracks." But it was my "wrong side of the tracks". It was where my friends lived. I could walk around all over it and encounter people that I knew. When the town had a parade I was either in it or waving to my friends who were. It was home.
A couple years after high school I decided to serve as an LDS Missionary. No, they aren't all white shirt and tie wearing young men. I was sent to serve in Virginia and the surrounding area. I was there for a year when I was sent to a very small town in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Pembroke, like most small towns, is a place where everyone knows everyone. Though I was an outsider I lived their long enough to get to know the people in that town. I could walk into the bank, the hardware store, the five and dime store, or anywhere else in town and know the people and they knew me. I loved being in Pembroke. It felt like home to me.
Though I felt like Pembroke was home, I longed to return to my hometown of Kearns. I longed to see the people who had always been there.
There is a saying that you can never really go back home after leaving it. That may be true in some ways. At least it felt that way upon my return to Kearns.
A couple days after returning I tagged along with my mom to the local grocery store. As we walked into the store I felt that I was an outsider in my own home town. I knew absolutely no one.
The following Sunday as I walked into church I saw people I recognized, yet so many others that I did not. People had grown older. Children were older and taller. People had moved away and others had moved in.
I was not back home very long when I got married and moved to Colorado. We lived there for a couple years and though I had a few friends there, I took every opportunity to return to Utah that I could. When my husband was offered an chance to gain employment back in Utah we jumped and in no time we were back, but living in the county south of the Salt Lake Valley.
We were still close enough to visit family but far enough away to be on our own. In Orem I had a few friends, but they all lived very close to me. Orem was a small city. I tried to fit in but it was still so big. So much of it was unfamiliar to me. I spent most of my time with my young children. We would go to the local parades each year and not see a single sole we knew.
A few years later we moved to a fairly good sized city of West Jordan. I got involved in the parent organization at the local school and felt that I knew a few more people than I had in Orem. We lived there for nearly 10 years yet, my sphere of friends and acquaintances was still rather small and remained very localized.
Then, needing a bigger house, we moved out to a fairly small city of Herriman in the southwest corner of the Salt Lake Valley. My children were getting older and I had more opportunities to get involved. I got involved in the local parent organization at the school. I joined the local choir. I helped out with the local cub scout round table. I got to know many of the parents of my teenagers.
We have been here a mere 5 1/2 years, yet I feel that I know people all over this little city. People know who I am and I know who they are. My teenagers tell me that they cannot take me anywhere without running into someone that I know. It can often take an extra half an hour to get my grocery shopping done because I have to talk to someone I haven't seen in a few days. We have to catch up on everything. I walk into one of the local fast food restaurants and the young gal behind the counter is the daughter of one of my friends. I even know the librarian at our local library.
Herriman is now home at last and I love it.