Sunday, March 30, 2014

Home Sweet Rome

(Oostanaula Rive Bridge, DeSoto Theatre, Ford Hall, The Farm, Romulus and Remus, Piggly Wiggly, Clock Tower, and Riverbend Mall)

I grew up in a beautiful southern town in northern Georgia, Rome. It is home to Berry College and Shorter University. The downtown area has always been booming with quaint shops and wonderful eateries. The further you go away from the downtown area the more rural Rome becomes. Simple houses line the streets and you can hear children laughing. 

I grew up near Loop 1 just on the outskirts of the city limits. Five miles down the road was the local Piggly Wiggly. Down our street and to the right would take you past the little house where we would go for our haircuts, the brick building down just a ways on the left was the original Model Elementary School, and drive a little farther and you would come to a town, Shannon. My daddy owned a business in Shannon. A carpet mill. The building was orange and white striped. I spent a lot of time there playing, driving a fork life truck, and thinking that I made all of the executive decision. Up a rickety stair case, my dad’s office and lab was located. From his office, I would use the “terry phone”  and make announcements that could be heard through the plant. 

My childhood was picture perfect. The homes on the street were typical middle class. But the families that filled these houses were my extended family. The children in our neighborhood were a close to me as siblings. 

We were the only house with a pool so every summer our house was full of children who had come to swim. Both of my parents worked so we were told not to swim. One particular day, my parents left for work and within seconds we were jumping in the pool. My parents came back, the water was rocking, and we swiftly made our way into the living area soaked to the core pretending not to be wet. My parents left again for work but to this day they laugh about "catching" us swimming. Late at night, we would swim and we called it "Midnight Swim". Not sure why because it was never midnight yet it was just our silly natures. 

The little girl across the street, Andi, was my very best friend. I have no idea where she is now but I think of her often. My friend Jamie, who lived up the street, was always at our house wanting to eat. My parents wondered if he had food in his pantry but fed him every day without question. Jay who lived down the street was my first crush. He asked me during a game of "hide and seek" to be his girlfriend. I think we are technically still married because we never broke up. 

Every year it snowed and Ron (Andi's dad) would have to pull out this 1970s orange Suburban to haul us all around. Ron was obese and love some candy bars and the floor of this car was covered in candy bar wrappers. I'm not being judgmental. I loved Ron and Momma Margaret (his wife) like I did my own parents. The smell of chocolate is still in my mind. The scene of the discarded wrappers that is permanently in my mind is a memory of how sweet my childhood was. 

When I was 15, we moved. I didn't want to move. I didn't want to leave Rome. I still call it home. I have no idea where my friends are today but my heart longs for one more Midnight Swim, one more game of hide and seek, and one more sleep over. I'd give anything for one more fight with these kids, one more Midnight Swim, one more game of hide and seek. 

Be Blessed- 

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