My Hometown

We all have one. "It sure left its mark on us, we sure left our mark on it..."
Some of us visit our hometown regularly, I haven't been back in eleven years. 

Until Saturday, I had to attend a baby shower in Baytown which is a hop skip and a jump away from my hometown. Deer Park.

After the baby shower I had a unusual yearning to drive through my hometown and with no real family deadlines I figured why the hell not. A stroll down memory lane seemed like just the ticket.

I grew up in a small town, that wasn't a small town.

There was a Center Street, the only real street with stop lights in my hometown.
It was a dry city with very little commercialization except for fast food chains.
It was a city full of parades, carnivals and sports. 
It was the type of town that anyone and everyone was at the football stadium come Friday night.

Most people who lived there, grew up there, married their high school sweetheart...etc.
When I was in elementary we had skate night at the skating ring every Thursday and the teachers would be talking about whomever's hand you were holding come Friday morning.

But there was over 1000 students in my graduating class, so definitely not all that small.

We were the type of small town that thought we were better than everyone simple because we were from Deer Park. Some sort of white middle class suburbia superiority that I never quite grasped a hold of.

My parents escaped their roots: the rural southern, trailer home, horses in the backyard, addresses that don't pop up on google roots. And my cousins were constantly givings us the stink eye at our 'privileged' lifestyle. But really it was all a case of keeping up with the Jones, and lets be real we didn't do the best job of playing suburbia. We might have had the house in the perfect neighborhood but we certainly didn't have the disposable income. And my parents fought more like the Roseanne sitcom and less like the Crosby's.

But as I drove through the streets of Deer Park I wasn't haunted by the feelings of inadequacy or the crumblings of my parents marriage but by the strongest feelings of nostalgia and innocence.

I was lucky enough to grow up in a hometown where:
we left our doors unlocked,
we roamed the streets as kids at dark collecting toads from sewer drains,
we took off on bicycles for adventures to the snow cone shop, city pool, library or the park, our limits were the city line and in a time before cell phones my parents trusted us to look out for each other
we drag raced on center that as sixteen year old boys drag raced, 
we hung out at the Taco Bell until curfew showing off 'the cool' cars...side note I had a Lumina it wasn't all that cool,
we supported our football team every Friday night, the stands would be packed to the brim and it was like a reunion each week.

There was something about the innocence that was magical and intoxicating, looking back I can see why parents wanted to raise their children there. A city where you would feel comfortable allowing your children to be just children. There wasn't alcohol, violence wasn't something that occurred and the highest speed limit was 40 in the whole town. 

At the time I felt it was all a bit naive, behind the times, suffocating. My 10th/11th grade history teacher was in his sixties, lived there all his life and told us that he recalled a time when they would sit on the train tracks to keep out certain races of people. The Simpson's were banned in my household. And really every 16 year old new driver will eventually drive over the speed of 40, perhaps they should practice. 

So being the stubborn stubborn girl I was at 17, with a diploma in one hand and my trusty Lumina loaded down with all of my worldly possessions I drove away from my hometown. Never looking back.

This weekends stroll down memory lane, showed me how little life really does change in some small towns. My snow cone shop was still there, my house looked exactly the same, there wasn't a clothing store down all of Center street and the Hollywood Video where I rented my first rated R movie from at 16 still stood open and welcoming. 

BUT there were changes that stood out like big neon signs like the Starbucks, Wing Stop and the brand spanking new elementary school. 

No matter how much has changed or how much I have changed, it will always be my hometown. And my hometown was a magical place, filled with happiness, innocence and childhood adventures. I guess I was a pretty luck kid.

"It's where we loved, lived and learned real life stuff.
It's everything we're made of.

It sure left its mark on us, we sure left our mark on it
We let the world know we were here with everything we did
We laid a lot of memories down, like tattoos on this town
Like tattoos on this town."

What was your hometown like, do you visit often or set aside time to take a stroll down memory lane?

Linking up with Shanna.


  1. Shut the front door! How did I not know you were from Deer Park? My family is from there! Seriously! What a small world!

  2. Your hometown sounds like my hometown...except we had a lot of restaurants, shops, high rise condos, strip malls, etc. I haven't been back in about six years. Sometimes I miss the classiness and the beauty, but I don't miss the traffic. Almost everyone I went to school with still lives there...or has moved back there. I don't think I ever will move back there...or who knows...maybe when I retire. Your post makes me want to go visit your hometown though!!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'