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  • Writer's picturemaggiehsmith07

Think of Every Town You've Lived In

My whirlwind weekend in Illinois is drawing to a close. I arrived at the airport early in the hopes of getting on an earlier flight but the one before mine is oversold so I'm hanging out at O'Hare attempting to string words together coherently but after 2 hours of sleep I have low expectations. The last time I was in Illinois was almost 3 years ago when a classmate & I ran a half marathon together. Not long ago and a lifetime all the same. As I drove west to the first reunion activity, it was disorienting to drive past the new intermingled with the old. The memories arising like smoke, evaporating, replaced by another. The song Half Acre by Hem is a perfect song for the soundtrack of reunion weekend. If you've never heard it, it's beautiful, haunting and you should go listen to it. Like maybe now, as you read along -- to set the tone. I am holding half an acre Torn from a map of Michigan (close enough) And folded in this scrap of paper Is a land I grew up in Think of every town you've lived in Every room, you lay your head I thought of every town I've lived in since leaving Illinois at age 17... Ft. Jackson, SC, Daleville, AL, Enterprise, AL, Ft. Rucker, AL, Seoul and in Massachusetts, Billerica/Ayer/Framingham/Hudson. Oh. There's the hospital where my dad died (only I didn't make it "in time"). And there's where we lived my last few years in Illinois. Things don't look familiar. Oh wait. That does. When did they build the addition onto the library? It was great to see everyone at my reunion. It was surprising to hear how people perceived themselves in high school. Shy. A ghost. Nerd. Asshole (self proclaimed or otherwise assigned). Remember the movie The Breakfast Club? Assistant Principal Vernon assigns them a 1,000 word essay where they have to describe who they think they are. Brain. Athlete. Basket case. Princess. Criminal. What surprised me about the reunion is the one person who showed with a chip on their shoulder about how they perceived others treated them in high school. And what is it that you remember? In the movie The Breakfast Club, the group forms friendships in spite of their differences. If they can move forward in the course of a detention, I think 25 years is ample time to let that shit go. Until next time OHS Class of 1992! 

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