Saturday, March 31, 2012

Dandelion seeds

It's a military brat thing.  A good case has been made, for the dandelion as the Military Brat Flower.

The hardest question for a brat to answer is, "Where are you from?"  My usual response is another question, "Do you want the long answer, or the short answer?"

The short answer, as I've written before, is Indiana.  As for "hometown," there are multiple options.  Since  Facebook changed formats to limit my hometown to a single, real place... my answer has been empty.  How does one determine one's hometown?

  1. Is it the place where you were born?
  2. Is it the place where you grew up?  And if so, then what ages are considered "growing up?"
  3. Is it the place you've lived the longest?
  4. What role does climate and geography play?
For 1, I have no memories of living where I was born, we moved away while I was still young.  I've never lived there.  I've visited a few times, but never stayed long.

For 2, which places?
-- The St. Louis area always holds a special place in my heart, but I've never stayed there for very long.  Sometimes, especially lately, it's felt like this is a... corner-place, a place in which important things shift in my life.  This was where I first saw a space shuttle.  I'll come back to St. Louis in college, in posts yet to come.
-- The longest I've ever lived in one place, was around Omaha, Nebraska.  Honestly?  I hated it at first.  Came to like it later.  But the ability to drive, to discover a place for yourself... those make a difference. I only had that privilege in Omaha for about 3 months.
-- We would have loved to make the greater Lafayette, Indiana area home.  Beautiful area, great memories of campus, lots of local friends and activities.  This was the first place that was my home, without my parents or sister or brothers.

By the time I finished college, I would consider myself to have grown up.  And that's one of the reasons I'm not ready to call Houston a hometown.  I find it hard to call a place "hometown" in adulthood, until I've lived there a long time.

For 3, Omaha takes a clear lead.  The longest I've ever lived in any area was around there.  Houston is a not-too-distant second.  St. Louis and West Lafayette compete for third, but both of those times are segmented, not consecutive.

4 is another reason I struggle to call Houston a hometown.  It's the furthest south I have ever lived, and it is very coastal.  Growing up in the Midwest, I'm not accustomed to coastal living.  Frankly, I'm used to tornadoes, but hurricanes scare me.  Hurricane Rita, reminded me of the Balrog, "This foe is beyond any of you.  Run!"
But a part of me would like to go back, now that the family emergencies have... been resolved.

And yet, and yet.  This past week was Spring Break, and I found myself unwilling to write on the road.  I have family history in Indianapolis, but I've never actually lived there, myself.  But it is also my husband's hometown, more or less.  He spent large parts of elementary, middle school, and high school there.  Between my grandparents, aunts & uncles, my husband & in-laws, and the accessibility we had from Lafayette, I feel very at home in Indianapolis.  

It doesn't feel right, to claim a place I've never lived in.  But I suppose I've been "passing through" my entire life, longer than any other single location.

We took some time over spring break to visit Brian's schools.  Which is another post all by itself, I don't want to write about it here.

Suffice it to say, returning to the place we were staying, took us past where the old Paramount Pizza restaurant was.  It was pretty well-known when we were kids.  Huge, vaulted ceiling.  I remember helium balloons, though I'm not sure whether that was for every child or just because we celebrated birthdays there.  And a grand piano on a lift, in the center of the dining area.  We could request songs, that the pianist would play.

I only remember visiting Paramount Pizza about twice.

Our annual trip to Grandma's house often came around Memorial Day.  It didn't matter who we were visiting, the Indianapolis 500 was always on the TV (although nobody really seemed to be watching it).  It was usually a chance for Sguth, Cguthrie00, and I to celebrate our birthdays with the extended family.  I believe one of us requested Paramount Pizza for our birthdays, because we remembered having been there before.

There were a LOT of people celebrating birthdays that night.  Enough that the pianist refused to play "Happy birthday" anymore, I think he may have announced that he'd play it ONE MORE TIME for all the remaining birthdays in the room.

By the time I was in a position to go visit it again... it had closed.  I miss it.