Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Reunion

I am 4th from the left, last row back.

So this last weekend I went down to Los Angeles for a reunion of the cast of "American Bandstand," which was a television show I was a regular dancer on from about 1977 - 1979, when I was a teen/young adult. For me, those were the height of my "city" years. We clubbed until dawn, grabbed expresso at all-night coffeehouses, taped the show, and somehow dragged ourselves off to work and college when we weren't doing that....crawling through traffic, living in crappy apartments, eating and drinking in dive bistros and chic eateries and, generally, living life in the fast lane (within which there was usually a traffic jam, so not so fast, really). 

It's familiar...

So how does someone born and raised in the city, well-versed in city life and activities, end up working a homestead in a rural part of the state? That answer was simple: I became who I was supposed to be. Anyone who lives a fundamentally different lifestyle than the one they grew up with knows exactly what I'm talking about. 


Sometimes you just get mailed to the wrong address at birth. It happens.


Yet for those who are raised in those "foreign" environments, we can often learn to be a pretty good mimic where the outside world is concerned. Just like any place you live long enough, you learn the lingo and adopt activities that allow you to fit in. In short, you become the guy in Rome who did as the Romans did. He blended in, in order to survive.


But at some point, your deeper nature will surface, as it did with me at about age 28. I say deeper nature because deep down, I have always belonged in nature or out in the country much more than on on some nightclub floor or 4 a.m. coffeehouse. As a really small child I vividly remember driving out of Los Angeles, over the Grapevine (Interstate 5) into the rolling farmlands of the Central Valley to visit relatives, and feeling like I was coming home. Which, it turns out, was exactly what I was doing -- just 20 years too early. 


but this is Home.

Yet, thankfully, there is no time limit on coming home and no reason why the first place you live should be "home" for you if you don't really feel at home there. Home is where your soul comes to rest. You might find it at birth or age 70, but the later age does not invalidate the fact that its true. Every soul has a compass that points true north (or south, east or west in reality), and until you heed the pull and go to where it's telling you, you will always feel a little out of place, deep down inside you. You may look like the rest of them, but you're not really one of them, and you know it.


And yet, by being born in a land foreign to your soul, you do learn to be a citizen of two worlds. So when I went down to Los Angeles for my reunion weekend, on the outside I fit right in. I like that, and hope I can always do that. To be a citizen of two places surely cannot be anything but a privilege.  But to know which one is home is the true gift. And for me, to head back, out of the city and to a place where I can see the Milky Way at night and there's no hum of the freeway off in the distance is both a tremendous comfort and something that makes me realize how lucky I was to seek -- and to finally find -- Home. 

10 comments:

  1. I swear you are the woman of one thousand lives! What an incredible experience to have lived. I love this post and so feel your words. I'm glad you've made it home! I often think of myself in my wiiiild phase and just how far from myself I had wandered. And then it was like a switch flipped and I went from 4AM lush to baking pies at 5:30AM. I'm still a lush, but I get a lot more sleep and *do* a lot more. This change happened over the course of one summer. At the time, I thought I was purely miserable. Looking back, I see it as such a happy time reconnecting to who I actually am.

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  2. That is amazing. Maybe we all take a turn in places that we don't really belong but kind of mesmerize us into thinking we fit into. And I suppose for some they never make it out. I'm glad we both did! Pies at 5:30 is infinitely healthier than alcohol at that hour lol.

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  3. This post brought tears to my eyes and I thank Stephen Andrew for leading me here!
    After years of talking about it we are finally leaving our suburban town about 45 minutes south of Manhattan and moving outside Nashville. Tennessee has felt like "home" to me now for quite some time although the hustle and bustle of NJ has been home for the past 42 years.
    It's going to be a huge change trading suburbia for wide open space and lots of land but in my heart I know it is where I am meant to be.
    xoxo

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    1. eleanor, if you see jack white in nashville tell him i love him. :))

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    2. Janet, you know I will! xoxo

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    3. Oh Eleanor, good luck with your move! I think the area outside Nashville is one of the most gorgeous in the country. I am glad you found your "true North." Hope the move goes well and you love your new surroundings (I think you will!).

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  4. oh am i glad stephen andrew sent me over. what a great post. what a fabulous line...sometimes you get mailed to the wrong address. that happened to me! and i remember watching american bandstand when i was about 8 with our babysitter sharon, so much fun!

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    1. Thank you so much! I think there's quite a few of us who got mixed up with our correct delivery addresses lol. And glad you remember Bandstand! As I get older and older, there are less and less young people who were alive when it was on, so it's always nice when someone does remember it.

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  5. I also have to thank our Stephen Andrew for sending me here, I loved this post! You were on American Bandstand, that's amazing.
    I can feel the comfort of the life you have made for yourself, it sounds so lovely.
    I grew up in a small town and though I like visiting the city I can't live there, nope. I settled in a University town about an hour from Toronto that is kinda small, well our neighbourhood at least has a small town feel.
    You are a wonderful writer.

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    1. Thank you so much! I think deep down we pretty much all know where we were meant to be. I'm thankful to have made it to that place, it sounds like you did too. I do feel sad for the ones who did not, and are living somewhere that always feels a little off-kilter and foreign to them. It's good to know where you belong!

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