This week, I spent 48 hours in Pittsfield, MA. Now, you may be thinking, "WHY on Earth are you spending time in Pittsfield, mid-week in April?!" Well, that's where I grew up. There's something about getting off the Pike at Exit 2 and not even having to think about which way to go, it's muscle memory that drives me home. It was funny driving in, all of the houses looked so spread out and green compared to the clustered, brick and cement apartment buildings of Boston. As my dad put it, it was like taking a mini-vacation from the city. But my trip was more than that. Going home is more than an experience, its a full-bodied sensation.
In taking my dog for a walk, I ran into several neighbors, all who called out to me by name from their backyards or garages and came down the the driveway to chat with me. They asked about my brother or my grandmother or my job and all seemed happy to hear that I was doing well. I visited local shops and hangouts - the Barnes and Noble, for instance, which although is much more limited than the bookstores in Boston is a familiar haunt from my high school years. Kaylea and I took a trip to the local apple orchard located 20 minutes from my house which, frankly, you cannot do in Boston. While out to dinner with my parents at a local restaurant, we ran into my fourth grade teacher, a nice stroll down memory lane. I thought about all of the times in college where I experienced post-teenaged angst and dreaded heading home to my small town from bustling Boston. But now, (at my wise old age of 23) it's a relief to be somewhere so familiar and safe. It makes me realize that no matter how far I move away or what city I live in, I'll always have somewhere to go that has watched me grow and remembers me through various stages of my life. I realize that while Boston is where I belong for the moment, small town USA served me well in my early years and I look forward to my next trip home. Where every body knows my name.