When I Think of Home. . .

When I think of home, I think of a place

where there’s love overflowing~”Home,”~performed by Stephanie Mills

What do you think of when you think of “home”? Not the place where you currently live. I mean the place where you grew up. For me, the best way to explain it is: It’s complicated.

I have some lovely memories of home. Most often they involve my grandparents who watched over me–making sure that I always had everything that I needed, even when times were lean; making sure that I attended church; and making sure that I was a “good girl” and “got my lesson” (finished my schoolwork).

But all of my memories are not warm and fuzzy. For many years, I lived with my mother and a stepfather who was an abusive alcoholic. This, of course, was not conducive to a normal mother-daughter relationship. He was volatile; we never knew what would set him off. His appearance always made my stomach churn, and I avoided him like the plague. Unfortunately, there were also others in my extended family whose lives were often out of control because they abused alcohol. In spite of–or maybe because of–the love and support for my grandparents, I knew that I had to leave home to create a different life for myself. I could not be what I wanted to be–even though I didn’t quite know what that would be–if I stayed home. I infamously told my mother when I was a junior in high school that I could not wait until I finished high school, so I could go to college and never come back.

I was unable to keep that promise/threat, nor did I really want to. But I returned for only one summer while I was in college. I was usually working–trying to get my hustle on. Afterwards, I visited once or twice a year. Following the death of my grandparents, it became easier just to pay for my mother to visit me. So, now it has been four years since I was “home.”

It has been many years since I boarded a Greyhound bus, with my money hidden in a handkerchief (can’t tell you where) and a box a chicken to eat on the 18-hour ride to the University. And now I have a job opportunity that is taking me back home, not to the same city but the same state. Ironic, isn’t it? I’m going back to the place I’ve been running from all these years. Will be difficult? Can I make peace with the ghosts of the past and the realities of the present?

I don’t know, but I wonder where this road will lead.

 

 

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My September 11 Memory

AmFlagWaveThere are those moments that everyone remembers where he or she was. My mother vividly remembers the assassinations of Pres. John F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I was in elementary school in 1981 when there was an attempted assassination on Pres. Ronald Reagan. I don’t know if the students were told why, but we were released from school. When I got home, I watched the clip of the assassination attempt over and over on television all day long. I also remember the the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion in 1986. It was difficult to believe it had actually happened.

The collapse of the Word Trade Center on September 11, 2001 was the first national tragedy that I watched as it happened. On September 11, 2001, I was a newlywed. In fact, I had been married exactly two weeks.  I woke up that Tuesday morning and was looking at the Today Show. My husband worked second shift, so he was still asleep.

While listening to the report of the first plane crashing into the World Trade Center, I saw the second airplane fly into the building live. I woke Zachary up so I could tell him about it, but he didn’t seem to fully comprehend because he was so groggy. He went back to sleep. Later, when he woke up, he told me he thought it was all a dream. . . more like a nightmare.

Every year when I celebrate my anniversary, I can’t help thinking about the tragic anniversary that will follow in two weeks. What do you remember about September 11, 2001?