Friday, August 13, 2010

There's No Place Like Home

Evanston, Wyoming.

I was born here.

I didn't live here for long enough after I was born to remember living here...we moved to Laramie when I was a year old...but for a long time, Evanston felt like home to me.

My Great-Aunt Lue owned a hotel here. The Sims Hotel on Front St. And I have the best memories of the hotel and the people in it.

We used to come here a lot during the summer and holidays.

My dad grew up here. His parents, once they married, rarely left even over night.

I could go on and on waxing nostalgic for you...about how the taste of Coca-Cola transports me here, how playing Monopoly into the night conjures up the hotel lobby, how whenever I see those pink foam curlers I remember uncomfortable, sleepless nights for the sake of adorable corkscrew curls. I swung my first tennis racket here and my first golf club. I drove my first car here and smoked my first cigarette. I heard Berlin for the first time here and I read every one of the Oz books here.

There are an awful lot of incredible memories wrapped up in this typical Wyoming town in the southwestern most corner of the state.

But the hotel's gone now...and has been for a very long time.

Aunt Lue's been in her grave for more than 25 years and that's probably a good thing.

I feel ill. And not because I've got this stupid summer cold.

But because this place - so many of the people I've known and loved since I could remember - are shadows of themselves...drug addicts, alcoholics, incapacitated by the strength of their addictions.

I'm sorry for them. Glad for me. Disgusted by them. Proud of me. Contemptuous of them.

I don't relate to this place anymore.

My hotel - a nice, cozy chain hotel with free cookies in the lobby every afternoon - shares a parking lot with the xxx toy store and Lotty's Drive Thru Liquor and Lounge. Just up the street is the boot barn where I can buy cowboy boots...and a gun store not far beyond that.

This is where I come from.

And yet I see none of myself when I look around.

There is simply...nothing of Jane or her Infinite Wisdom in this saddest of ghost towns from my past.

I'd like to click my heels three times and go home now.

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