I’ve sort of been doing the North Dakota, small town tour lately. I’ve been hired to speak and sing at some special events, touching on topics like ranch living and what it’s like in Boomtown.
It’s been fun, hitting the open road and taking the exists on familiar highways that I’ve driven by but never turned fully discovered.
But it’s also been nostalgic in a way. Because I’m reminded in these small towns what my small town used to be like. Actually, I’m reminded that not all small towns are bursting at the seams, under constant construction and constant growing pains.
I’m reminded that some places stay the same. Quiet. Quaint. Full of people who know one another, their children and their children’s children.
The funny thing is even after watching my small town boom from 1,200 people to over 12,000 or more, I still think of my town the same way as I thought of it growing up. And, in a way, I see it that way too. I mean, I’m not blind to the changes, but the way it was seems to sort of be ingrained in me.
Like, I still call the hardware store Hardware Hank, even though it hasn’t been called Hardware Hank since I was in junior high.
And when I give directions or talk about the new developments, I base locations off of where things used to be…like the old Chuckwagon cafe that closed when I was in high school or the where the bakery used to be…or where Larson’s used to live…
Funny how memory works. Funny how we connect to place in different ways and at different times. Funny how, in my mind, time sort of stopped for my hometown fifteen years ago…
Funny how this causes major issues when a new resident is trying to give me directions to a new development (that used to be a field next to my friend’s house) based on street signs…
Funny how annoyed I was at the reality of getting lost in my hometown…
Coming Home: Getting Lost in my quickly changing hometown
by Jessie Veeder