I live in a small country town, plopped down in the southwest corner of Missouri. I haven't always lived here and in many ways that makes it easier to go about my life. Here - the only history anyone has on me is that which I have created since my move here and that which I have chosen to share. Its nice because I can look anyone in the eye and not wonder if they remember some embarassing thing I may have done when I was in that era of time between sixteen and thirty. Those are the years where we seem to make our biggest decisions, our unwise choices and the mistakes we would rather forget all about. We all have something in our past we would much rather never revisit or be reminded of.
The first few years of life here on earth, were spent in northern Illinois. I lived there only nine years, but my memories of the place seem to burn stronger than memories I have of my later adventures. Perhaps because it was spent in those vital years when everythng was and adventure and the bad times never seemed to linger long. I have fond recollections of fishing with my brother, swinging on ropes, climbing trees and jumping in giant piles of autumn leaves. My brother, two years older than me, was my companion and my best friend. When school started for me, life changed drastically. On the farm, no one cared that I was a wild tom-boy, my hair cropped short and dirt always finding a way to decorate my face. That first day of school though, people noticed the moment I got on the bus and I can still remember well the feeling of panic and despair as the older kids pulled on my scarf and laughed and made fun of me when I began to cry. Little did I realize this was the first of many incidents in which my peers would force me to see that I was different and therefore someone who needed to be reminded that I would never be like them.
Most of my educational years were spent in the mountains of Colorado. If this were an adventure story, that would sound really wild and bring forth images of log cabins and harsh untamed winters. The reality of it was I lived in a mining-turned-tourist town that depended greatly on the flow of visitor traffic detouring off of Interstate 70. I lived in house that was covered with sea foam green aluminum siding. It had a nice yard, a big garage and a neighbor who believed me and my brothers were horrible juvenile delinquents. True, we did make a point of breaking the boards on her picket fence and pulling them back together to make them look whole, and we did have a habit of kicking our ball over that same fence, forcing us to trample on the grass she spent hundreds of hours and money on keeping it weed free and beautiful. We were loud and rambunctious and surely it had to wear on the nerves of a spinster who had enjoyed a quiet life until my family moved next door. We weren't bad kids, we were just a bunch of siblings moved off of a farm and thrust into town life. We lived there for nearly a decade, however the neighbor, never did warm up to us and I'm certain she breathed a huge sigh of relief once we moved away.
For a very short time I lived in Arkansas. I managed to get through one semester of school there and then decided to moved to Montana. That lasted three weeks. At nineteen I wasn't ready to be on my own, although in hindsight, I know I should have stayed and toughed it out. Isn't hindsight a cruel thing? If I had known the rough years ahead of me, the choice to give up on one dream to try another, may not have been made based on fear of being alone. Seems too many of my choices were made that way. A fear that has proven to be something that I'm not afraid of at all now. The comfort I get from that knowledge is that I know fear of being alone will never dictate my decisions that are life changing!
In just a few short paragraphs I've laid out the most basic timeline of my life. Between those lines is forty-two years of memories and stories to share, heartaches and happiness and a lot of choices. I've made a plethora of friends along the way, a good many of them have phased out of my life, but a handful still remain, still sharing and creating the events that shape who I am. As my life is about to make another change, I am turning to my passion of writing to adjust, to learn who I am now compared to who I was.