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I think to most people, answering the question, “Where are you from?” comes pretty easy. For me, it feels so awkward.
I was born in Kokomo, but I was not more than two years old when we moved up to Michigan. My sister was born in Detroit. My first friendships were formed there. Even more so in Dearborn where I went to kindergarten and first grade. The two years we lived in Grosse Isle were full of fond memories of playing in the (dead end) street, building forts in the back yard, and being homeschooled by my mom.
I was almost ten years old when we moved back to Indiana. We lived in a small town just outside Warsaw for a couple of years and when my parents got divorced, one or the other parent was living at that house until I was 16. Those were really rough years in some respects. I suppose a lot of it had to do with my parents, but also my grandparents (whose house we lived in) had a strong influence on the bittersweet mood.
For years I used to imagine that I’d live in Michigan again someday. A big part of me wants to tell people that’s where I’m from. Mostly though, I say “near Warsaw,” because of the inevitable follow up questions that insue. “Oh, did you know…?” “Did you ever go to….?” “Do you remember…?” If I tried to answer those questions about living in Detroit, or even Grosse Isle, I’d have to shamefully rephrase the original answer. But the things I do remember were magical. Cookouts at the Green’s house (my mom still swears it’s the best southern food she’s had in her life). The pink mansion looking out to Canada from the island. Going over the bridge to Trenton. The car shows, the library with the Flat Stanley puppet, the pink cast when I broke my arm.
It’s amazing the little things that shape our sense of self. I suppose it really doesn’t matter what answer I give anyhow. I know where I’m from.

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